A speaker adresses the deputies of the pro-presidential majority as the opposition deputies left the session of the parliament hall decorating their sits with national flags in Kyiv on June 5, 2012. The Ukrainian parliament backed a controversial bill making Russian the country's de-facto second national language as several thousand protesters rallied in the city centre.
The Ukrainian parliament's press service has announced that a controversial language bill that gives Russian the status of "a regional language" in 13 of Ukraine's 27 regions has been signed by the speaker.
The law will come into effect now after President Viktor Yanukovych signs it. Lawmakers approved the law on July 3.