Protesters Try to Enter Ukraine Parliament

Protesters Try to Enter Ukraine Parliament (ABC News – AP)

Angry opposition protesters tried to push their way into the Ukrainian parliament building Tuesday after lawmakers appeared to backslide on their support for efforts to overturn the results of last week’s disputed presidential election. Ukraine’s Supreme Court also resumed its probe into allegedly fraudulent results from the Nov. 21 runoff vote, while regional authorities in the industrial east began to retract threats to resist central rule if opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko is declared the winner.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose nation considers the energy-dependent Ukraine part of its sphere of influence and a buffer with NATO’s eastern flank, said the crisis must be solved without foreign pressure.

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Demonstrators massed outside the Ukrainian parliament building were watching the legislative proceedings on television screens and were infuriated when lawmakers tentatively approved a measure that would have annulled a nonbinding decision on Saturday to declare the election invalid. Protesters some crawling on top of each other’s shoulders got as far as the lobby of the building before police pushed them back. Yushchenko, who claims the vote was marred by massive fraud, also addressed the demonstrators in an effort to calm tensions.

Parliamentary Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn adjourned the session until Wednesday and promised the previous decision would not be canceled. Earlier Tuesday, parliament failed to pass a vote of no-confidence in the government due to the emergence of separatist threats in the nation. Only 196 of the 410 lawmakers present supported the measure, however, less than the 226 votes needed.

Lovely.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.