Crisis in the Ukraine Escalating


Ukrainian citizens are struggling to overcome the pro-Russian tendencies of their leaders.

Since the ban on protests was passed in Ukraine, people in Kiev have taken to the streets seeking to have their freedom of association restored. Tens of thousands have rallied against the new ban, and the police have been responding. Unfortunately, their response has included stun grenades and flares as the protesters attempted to reach Kiev’s parliamentary building. The protesters are also using violent extremes, such as petrol bombs and thunder flashes.

The crisis is fueled by the pro-European sentiment of the Kiev protesters; defiance of the new law reflects an anti-government feeling that is brewing in Ukraine. The European Union and Ukraine’s relations have been undefined for some time now, with the government rejecting admission and the people encouraging it. Technically speaking, Ukraine’s relationship with the EU is defined by European Neighborhood Policy. Because Ukraine borders the EU, the EU has been hoping to integrate their interests with Ukraine’s in the recent past. They desire both political and economical cooperation, and the EU have signed agreements to this affect. However, these agreements will not be ratified, leaders of the EU say, unless Ukraine works on their political issues. Most notably, they will have to address the “stark deterioration of democracy and the rule of law.” The laws banning protests do not seem to be easing the tensions over the ratification stipulation.

The opposition leader, Vitaly Klitschko, called for peace and was sprayed in the face with a fire extinguisher. He said these words directed at the president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, “You’re fighting with your nation. Stop the escalation. Don’t go the way of (former Romanian President Nicolae) Ceausescu and (former Libyan leader Muammar) Gaddafi.” On the other hand, there are oppositionists calling for more combative methods. Rear Admiral Ihor Tenyukh was fired by the Yanukovych in 2010 and said, “Tomorrow the regime will enslave you too. Therefore we are calling on you to fulfill your military oath of loyalty to the Ukrainian people and not to the authorities who have gone off the rails.” Tenyukh believes the acts of government are “illegal,” and it seems many Ukrainians would agree. The mass demonstrations and protests have evolved from a specific grievance to encompass the ill-feeling concerning abuses of government power.

Prior to the violent protests, demonstrators had been camping out in Independence Square for about two months. The demonstration was catalyzed by Yanukovych’s rejection of an EU deal amid Russian pressure. Then the ban on protests was set in place, a law including, the “ban on the unauthorized installation of tents, stages or amplifiers in public places.” This spoke directly to the actions of the mass demonstrators against the rejection of the EU deal, and the protests began to turn violent in response.

Currently, members of the opposition “are under huge pressure to come up with an action plan, amid criticism from many activists that their campaign has been too passive” (according from the BBC). Well, these protests have proved they are not passive, and that Ukraine is definitely a country to watch in the upcoming months as political tensions and issues develop.

— Megan Evershed, World News Editor


Posted by on January 23, 2014. Filed under World News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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