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1 Feb, 2022 19:44

Ukrainian MPs fly US flag

The parliamentarians were reprimanded for using English in the chamber

A group of Ukrainian lawmakers have flown the flags of a number of Western states in parliament to celebrate the shipment of weapons to the country amid fears of a potential Russian invasion.

The legislators, from several different parties, took the floor of the Rada, the Ukrainian parliament, on Tuesday, holding the flags of the US, UK, Canada, and various European countries. “We would like to thank our partners, who stand side by side with Ukraine encountering Moscow’s aggression and invasion,” Sophia Fedina of the European Solidarity party announced.

“We thank them for the understanding that Moscow’s attempt to rebuild the Soviet empire is a threat not only to Ukrainian territorial integrity and sovereignty, but also to democracy, human rights, and international security,” the MP went on. She broke off as the chamber’s presiding officer asked her to speak Ukrainian, not English.

Another speaker took her place and declared, also in English, “It’s popular to say that Ukraine is like Afghanistan. No, it’s not. For centuries we were fighting for our independence.” She was then also rebuked for not speaking in Ukrainian.

Western officials have been warning for months that they fear a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine in the near future, an accusation that Moscow has repeatedly denied. Washington has ruled out the possibility of sending American troops to fight in the event of an attack, but last week, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced that President Joe Biden had authorized an additional $200 million of military assistance to Ukraine in December, including Javelin anti-tank missiles and “large quantities of artillery.”

The Rada also approved a $2.3 billion loan from London last week, intended to beef up the country’s navy, and Canada separately announced that it was sending another 60 soldiers to Ukraine, on top of the 200 already stationed there, to help with training missions.