Tensions are again running high in Eastern Europe after Ukraine ratified a 25-year extension to a lease on the Russian naval base located in the Crimean port of Sebastopol.
Chaotic scenes were the order of the day in the Ukrainian parliament as the debate over the lease's extension became more and more heated. The chamber's speaker, Volodymyr Lytvyn, had to take refuge behind a table as he was pelted by empty vodka bottles, smoke bombs exploded and opposing politicians rolled up their sleeves and brawled.
Opposition politicians claimed they had been 'blackmailed' into agreeing to the deal after a senior Russian diplomat had dropped hints that several 'Typhoon' class nuclear submarines had been stationed off the Ukrainian coast.
"We cannot be sure of Russian intentions in leaking this information, but we saw what happened in Georgia and are 'only too aware' of the possible consequences of non-compliance with Russia's wishes." said former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
President Viktor Yanukovych, who took over from Miss Tymoshenko in February, has sought to improve relations between Ukraine and Russia, after the tensions created by the Orange Revolution, but denied the new deal was part of some ulterior motive. "To put it bluntly", he said, "we need the gas, it's that simple!."
Miss Tymoshenko responded "This is bullshit!" before continuing, "Russia needs to sell its gas to us as badly as we need to buy it! Today will "go down as a black page in the history of Ukraine and the Ukrainian parliament."
In a last minute desperate attempt to thwart Mr Yanukovych's plans, Miss Tymoshenko told the parliament that if the ratification failed she would happily emulate Italy's well-known ex-porn star politician 'la Cicciolina' by posing nude in PLAYCOMRADSKI, the former communist country's leading adult magazine.
Sadly for her many admirers, even the widely recognised good looks of Miss Tymoshenko could not defeat the motion which gained the support of 236 out of 450 members of the chamber. "Damn! I thought we might finally have something to look forward to in Ukraine." said one irate politician.
Obviously a little humiliated by the ineffectiveness of her womanly charms, Miss Tymoshenko simply said, "Oh well. It's their loss." before marching out of the room.
Shortly after the Ukraine vote was announced, the Russian lower house of parliament was ordered to also approve the fleet extension deal. Unsurprisingly 410 members voted in favour and none against.
"We will shortly be ordering our submarines to retreat to a 'safe' distance and standing down our air force. Their work is finished." said Russian president Dmitry Medvedev with his characteristic, cheery smile before adding menacingly, "For now anyway!".