<!-- IMAGE -->
An egg-throwing melee erupted in Ukraine's parliament Tuesday as the body voted to ratify a deal granting Russia an extended lease on a Black Sea naval base.
Fire alarms sounded as opposition lawmakers set off smoke bombs and hurled eggs at Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn, who was forced to take cover under umbrellas.
Several thousand people also rallied outside parliament to protest the deal allowing Russia to maintain control of the base in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol.
Despite the chaos, the lease extension passed with 236 votes in Ukraine's 450-seat parliament. Russia's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, also ratified the extension Tuesday.
The agreement extends Russia's lease on the base to 2042. In exchange, cash-strapped Ukraine will get a 30 percent discount on Russian natural gas for the next 10 years.
The deal was announced last week after talks between Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his Russian counterpart, Dmitri Medvedev.
Mr. Yanukovych says the deal will help cut his country's budget deficit.
For his part, Russian President Medvedev ridiculed the Ukrainian melee Tuesday, saying lawmakers acted on the base agreement with what he called their "traditional elegance." But he also voiced satisfaction with the measure, saying it showed that common sense and strategic interests prevailed in Kyiv.
The Ukrainian constitution has since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union permitted Russian bases in its territory for an unspecified period. But critics say the lease extension far exceeds a reasonable time frame and violates a constitutional ban on all foreign bases in Ukraine.