A Shifting Crisis in Ukraine

The protests in Ukraine have been intensifying over the recent months, leaving almost one hundred people dead. The Ukrainian parliament’s recent fears have been of a potential split within the country. The east of Ukraine is dominated mainly with pro-Russian sentiment, while the west supports the European Union. BBC News reprts that politicians who supported the recently ousted president, Viktor Yanukovych, are hoping to avoid a split as much as possible. Yanukovych has in fact fled the country, and his whereabouts are currently unknown, but presumed to be in the Kharkhiv area in Ukraine, close to the Russian border. The Ukrainian government recently appointed an interim president, Oleksandr Turchynov, after President Viktor Yanukovych was dismissed.

Yulia Tymoshenko with Russian Prime Minister Medvedev, left, and President Putin, center.

Yulia Tymoshenko with Russian Prime Minister Medvedev, left, and President Putin, center. Despite working with the Russian government during her premiership, Tymoshenko is pro-West.

Before Yanukovych’s fled the capital, he signed a peace deal with opposition leaders. This deal has only come after months of violence and protest. Despite this deal, protesters are still demonstrating in Kiev’s Independence Square, where many Ukrainians have died in the last few weeks. Police have seemingly abandoned their stations all over Kiev, leaving protesters free to enter the presidential complex and buildings in the area. Reportedly, when the crowds amassed in Independence Square heard of Yanukovych’s resignation, they responded with loud cheering. We can only hope that the violence has passed its climax and no other people will be hurt.

Reactions have been mixed regarding the release of Yulia Tymoshenko, the former prime minister of Ukraine. Tymoshenko was jailed for allegedly abusing her power while in office. Some say the seven-year sentence was politically motivated to avoid Tymoshenko’s anti-Yanukovych rallying. Tymoshenko was a major figure in Ukraine’s 2004 Orange Revolution, a bloodless rebellion resulting in huge constitutional changes that shifted powers from the president to the parliament, among other major changes within the Ukraine government.

Within hours of her release from a Kharkhiv prison, Tymoshenko declared her intentions to run for president (the opposition wants presidential elections to be held before the twenty-fifth of May). She still has many supporters, some who have even been camping out and protesting in Kiev for the past two years, the duration of her time in prison. For others, Tymoshenko didn’t achieve the reforms she needed to while in office, and new blood is needed to achieve the new Ukraine they desire. Tymoshenko supporters may argue that if she hadn’t been jailed, she could have instituted important legislation for the Ukraine people, but now it’s simply a matter of waiting to see what Tymoshenko will do. She clearly has major plans and is a talented politician.

Whatever fate has in store for Ukraine in the coming months, we can only hope they will not be as turbulent and violent as the last few weeks. Ukraine is hopefully on a path to a brighter future and will institute beneficial reforms to appease the people.

— Megan Evershed, World News Editor

Posted by on February 26, 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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