6 Feb 2020 14:40

Access blocked to rostrum, presidium in Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada, Tymoshenko in speaker's seat

KYIV. Feb 6 (Interfax) - MPs from Ukraine's Batkivshchyna and Opposition Platform-For Life factions have blocked access to the rostrum and the presidium in Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada, which is preparing to debate a land market bill.

Some parliamentarians are standing near the presidium table, an Interfax correspondent reported. Members of the Batkivshchyna and Opposition Platform-For Life factions have encircled the rostrum. MPs from the Servant of the People faction, who tried to prevent the blocking of parliament's work, are standing nearby.

This was preceded by a brief scuffle between Servant of the People members, who were in the presidium, and Batkivshchyna MPs, who wanted to get in there. As a result, only Batkivshchyna faction leader Yulia Tymoshenko and several other female MPs made it to the presidium. Male MPs from the faction were stopped from getting there.

Verkhovna Rada First Deputy Speaker Ruslan Stefanchuk, in turn, invited the factions' leaders to his office for consultations and left the presidium. The Batkivshchyna leader is currently in the parliamentary speaker's seat.

The Verkhovna Rada is preparing to debate the agricultural land sale bill, which opens up the land market in Ukraine and permits agricultural land sale, in the second reading on Thursday.

Opponents of the measure gathered outside the Office of the Ukrainian President on Bankova Street in Kyiv, urging parliament not to adopt the bill. The protesters then moved toward headquarters of the Verkhovna Rada.