Punches were thrown in the Ukrainian parliament yesterday after a bill was passed that would require the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to change its name to indicate its ties to Russia. Fighting broke out after Nestor Shufrych, a member of the Opposition Bloc, removed a poster from the podium which accused pro-Russian Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk of being an “agent” of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Mr Shufrych was then punched in the face by People’s Front politician Yuriy Bereza before the fighting escalated and other members piled in. Mr Medvedchuk is the leader of Ukrainian Choice, an organization that is considered to be pro-Kremlin and has been linked to the unofficial exchange of captives between Kiev and Russian-backed separatists. The speaker of the house announced a break on December 20th after the brawl ended. The proposed law, if signed by President Petro Poroshenko, could require the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to call itself the ‘Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine’. The bill comes amid rising tensions between Ukraine and Russia following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. The situation escalated last month when three Ukrainian naval vessels were seized off the coast of Crimea by Russian forces. Martial law was temporarily declared in Ukraine following the incident, under which all Russian men aged between 16 and 60 were banned from entering the country. Ukrainian forces have been fighting Russian-backed separatists and volunteers in eastern Ukraine since 2014. The Ukrainian parliament has a long history of brawls, particularly in relation to disagreements over the country’s relationship with Russia. In 2012 a huge fight broke out over proposals to give the Russian language equal status to Ukrainian, whilst in 2013 clashes broke out after a speech was made to the parliament in Russian. More recently, blows were exchanged in the house in 2017 over a law regarding state sovereignty in the separatist-held territories in eastern Ukraine.