Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Unrest in Ukraine leads to division

Mackenzie Garvin
For a long three months, protestors against the Ukrainian government have staked out in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine in hopes of their president, Viktor Yanukovych, signing a historical political and trade agreement with the European Union. The president backed out of signing the agreement because of Russia’s opposition to it and because he disagreed with the key demand of freeing Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who was Yanukovych's former political opponent, from a seven-year imprisonment on abuse chargers.
 However, the pact could have created closer ties politically with the European Union and generated economic growth for a broke Ukraine. It also would have opened borders to trade and and potentially modernize Ukraine. When the news broke, outraged Ukrainian citizens took the streets in protest to demand their president sign the European Union deal.
 Their president reacted to the protests by fleeing to Moscow. He announced that Russia would buy $15 billion of Ukrainian debt and slash the price Kiev pays for gas. However, when that did not stop or even die down, he adopted a anti-protest law which barred people from wearing helmets, masks or setting up tents while in protest. That law was later repealed.
 However, protesters recently vacated the capital. In doing so they left a major street unblocked and left governmental buildings they had been occupying in protest in exchange for the arrested protester's charges dropped. However, four days later, the speaker of parliament refused amendments to the parliament that would limit the president’s powers which was followed by violence and blood.  
 Although the violent bloodshed has come to a halt for now and the president, Viktor Yanukovych, has fled to Crimea, the people of Ukraine have found it is too early to declare victory over their oppressive government. With one day being relatively civil and one day being filled with violence and blood, top international diplomats are working to resolve to conflict with talk of sanctions.