Brawl breaks out in Ukrainian parliament over downed plane
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - 01:04
Fists fly during a meeting of Ukraine's parliament as deputies vote on increasing the number of troops battling pro-Russian separatists who they accuse of downing a Malaysian Airlines flight. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
Ukraine's parliament approved a presidential decree on Tuesday (July 22) to call up more military reserves to fight rebels in eastern Ukraine, as scuffles broke out between members in the tense chamber.
Some 45 days after the latest call-up of additional reserves, which has now expired, Kiev repeated the decree to conduct partial mobilisation to ensure the ranks of what Ukraine calls its "anti-terrorist operation" are filled.
Brief scuffles broke out between nationalist politicians and members of the party that was led by the former president, Viktor Yanukovich, who was overthrown in February.
When one member of Yanukovich's Regions party was thrown out of the chamber, Communist party colleagues also walked out in protest.
He put the numbers close to the border at 41,000 and said they were equipped with 150 tanks, 1,400 armoured vehicles and 500 other weapon systems.
Ukrainian troops have forced pro-Russian rebels back to their two main strongholds, the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk, slowly taking villages and city suburbs around them.
The army is under orders not to use air strikes and artillery in the cities, complicating operations to restore control despite Kiev's accusations that the rebels were responsible for the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner. The separatists deny the accusations.
The motion was carried with 232 votes in favor in the 450-seat parliament.
Russia withdrew most of the 40,000 troops it had close to the border earlier this year, reducing them to fewer than 1,000 by mid-June. But since then, it has been building up its forces again, a NATO military officer said this month.
Moscow denies supplying the rebels.
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