Russian language gets initial approval in Ukraine
KIEV - The Associated Press
A Ukrainian court. AFP Photo
Ukraine's parliament has given tentative approval to a hotly contested bill that would allow the use of the Russian language alongside Ukrainian in some regions.
Defying vehement protests by the opposition, pro-government lawmakers passed the bill in the first of two readings Monday. The previous discussion of the bill late last month caused a violent fight between lawmakers that left one parliament member hospitalized with a head injury.
Under the bill, Ukrainian would remain the only official language in the country, but Russian could be used in courts, hospitals and other institutions in Russian-speaking regions.
Members of the pro-Western opposition argue that the bill would stifle the development of the Ukrainian tongue as millions of Russian speakers would have no incentive to learn and use it.