Home | World | What the hell is going on in Ukraine?

What the hell is going on in Ukraine?

By
Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font
 Ukrainian protester among burning car tyres. Source: Getty Images
Ukrainian protester among burning car tyres. Source: Getty Images

THE Ukraine capital, Kiev, is burning. Five protesters have been shot dead. There are calls for calm amid the escalating hell on the street.

What is going on?

Protesters throw molotov cocktails at police during clashes in the centre of Kiev on January 22, 2014.

Protesters throw molotov cocktails at police during clashes in the centre of Kiev on January 22, 2014. Source: AFP

The protest movement in Ukraine has been simmering for months. This weekend, violent street battles erupted with protesters hurling fire bombs and stones. Police fired back with tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets. Dark smoke from burning tyres, used as barricades, billowed in the air.

Helmeted riot police moved in on hundreds of protesters, dismantling the barricades, beating many with truncheons and firing shots at some.

Oleksandr Turchynov, one of the opposition leaders, called on Ukrainians to rush to the centre of Kiev to defend their country. "Ukraine will not be a dictatorship, it will be an independent, European country. Let us defend Ukraine!"

Ukrainian protester throws a molotov cocktail in front of burning car tyres during a mass protest.

Ukrainian protester throws a molotov cocktail in front of burning car tyres during a mass protest. Source: Getty Images

Why is it happening?

Protesters are fighting against President Viktor Yanukovych's refusal to sign a political and economic association pact with the EU after pressure from Russia.

The Ukrainian government had been working for years on a landmark trade deal with the European Union. In a sudden change of heart, Yanukovych backed out last November.

Eventually it was admitted, Russian pressure led to the turn around.

Protesters clash with police in central Kiev, Ukraine, early Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014.

Protesters clash with police in central Kiev, Ukraine, early Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. Source: AP

The deal would have seen Ukraine citizens allowed to travel through the EU without visas; in return the Ukraine would adopt hundreds of laws and regulations, and a program of sweeping reforms.

To activists, the choice between Russia or Europe is a symbol of the plans for the future of Ukraine.

Protester throws a molotov cocktail on Grushevsky street on January 22, 2014 in Kiev, Ukraine.

Protester throws a molotov cocktail on Grushevsky street on January 22, 2014 in Kiev, Ukraine. Source: Getty Images

Why didn't the president sign?

The pressure from Russia on the Ukraine can be extreme - and create economic pressure on an already struggling economy. There have been previous cases where the Kremlin have cut off gas exports into the country and banned Ukrainian products in Russia.

 Several people have died in clashes between protesters and police in the Ukrainian capital.

Several people have died in clashes between protesters and police in the Ukrainian capital. Source: AP

What does Russia want?

Russian President Vladimir Putin would like to see the former Soviet states realigned. He wants to form an alliance to give the EU a run for its money and without Ukraine this dream is impossible.

He also believes the protests in Ukraine are led by western forces, referring to them as "pre-planned" and not like a revolution. He is splashing cash to put the pressure on, with deals to cut the price of gas in Ukraine and buying billions of dollars worth of government bonds.

Ukrainian protesters among burning car tyres.

Ukrainian protesters among burning car tyres. Source: Getty Images

What are the two sides?

The country has a 50/50 split between the Russian supporters and the European supporters. The industrial workers in the eastern half favour closer ties with Russia, they speak the language and have the same religion. In the western half, they have closer ties with Europe. Many are Roman Catholic and they speak Ukrainian. These are the ones who want to leave Russia in the past and create stronger ties with their European friends, they are led by the three main opposition leaders - Klitschko, Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Oleg Tyagnybok.

Ukrainian protesters shoot with a help of petards.

Ukrainian protesters shoot with a help of petards. Source: Getty Images

Why are the protests intensifying now?

Last week, President Yanukovych pushed through anti-legislation laws which ban most forms of protest in the country. Demonstrators can no longer wear masks or helmets and anyone who blockades public buildings will be given a five-year jail term. Over 200,000 supporters of the opposition took to the centre of Kiev to protest against the new restrictions.

Protesters throw molotov cocktails at police during clashes in the centre of Kiev on January 22, 2014.

Protesters throw molotov cocktails at police during clashes in the centre of Kiev on January 22, 2014. Source: AFP

What next?

With both sides not looking to back down, and the death toll rising, the opposition has given the president a timeline to call an election - two days.

If this doesn't eventuate, they claim there will be more bloodshed. At this point, the next days are crucial and anything could eventuate.

After speaking with President Yanukovych, the Opposition Leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk said: "Tomorrow we will go forward together, and if it's a bullet in the forehead, then it's a bullet in the forehead, but in an honest, fair and brave way."

A pro-European Union activist stands near a barricade on Independence Square during clashes with police in central Kiev, Ukra...

A pro-European Union activist stands near a barricade on Independence Square during clashes with police in central Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. Source: AP

 

 
 

Colorado News

Get the latest Colorado news, sports, weather, entertainment, business & political news and more from Colorado Newsday.
 
  • Email to a friend Email to a friend
  • Print version Print version
  • Plain text Plain text

Rate this article

0
 
 

Photo Galleries

PHOTOS: Plastic Surgery Celebrity Awkward family photos 
 
UPDATED: Faces of Meth PHOTOS: Celebrities all a-Twitter

More galleries ››

 
 
 
  1. Spoiled’ teen takes parents to court (1.00)

  2. Terms of Service (0)

  3. Colorado Newsday Privacy Policy (0)

  4. Kim Kardashian denied access to Vanity Fair party (0)

  5. Russian troops threaten to shoot Ukrainian soldiers in tense stand-off (0)

  6. Drunk tractor driver decapitates three people in head-on crash (0)

  7. Boxer vows to fight on – after 51st defeat in row (0)

  8. Forbes rich list names world’s youngest billionaires (0)

  9. Pregnant woman drives kids into ocean in Florida (0)

  10. Oprah Winfrey tells Lindsay Lohan to ‘cut the bull****’ in trailer for new reality show Lindsay (0)

  11. Denver Man Michael McGinley threatened to kill wife in phone call at DA’s office (0)

  12. Couple stole little girl's iPod in Aurora (0)

  13. Former director of Breckenridge Film Festival Dawna Foxx given 5 years for embezzling $300K (0)

  14. Knee injury to sideline Broncos linebacker Danny Trevathan 6-8 weeks (0)

  15. Meredith Vieira reveals why she remained in an abusive relationship (0)

  16. How pets make us MORE stressed: More than half of cat and dog owners lose sleep because their animals wake them up early, survey finds  (0)

  17. Suspended MLB player becomes a hero as first on the scene at roadside accident (0)

  18. Waitress writes scathing post calling out MARRIED hedge-fund manager who felt her up...as accused 57-year-old vows revenge (0)

  19. Downton Abbey stars weigh in on Scottish independence at series five premiere...and their views are just as mixed as the polls (0)

  20. Still not safe to go in the water! Not one but two great whites spotted off the coast of Cape Cod (0)

  21. Fears of meningitis outbreak at Georgetown University after student dies suddenly (0)

  22. The Seriously Nasty Party: With one day to go, damning evidence of the bullying intimidation of voters by Scots nationalists (just ask Miliband)  (0)

  23. Is this the most dangerous holiday snap ever? Tourist gets out of his car to pose for photograph with lion and lioness at Kenyan nature reserve (0)

  24. Joan Rivers' lawyer says it's not her voice on alleged 'final audio recording' (0)

  25. 'Bow down to your imperial master Miliband!' Labour leader hounded out of Edinburgh shopping centre by Yes protesters as he pleads for 'civilised' debate (0)

  26. Not smiling now! First pictures of Adrian Peterson after his arrest for whipping his young son ...as Minnesota Governor calls on Vikings to suspend him while he awaits trial on child abuse charges   (0)

  27. Photographer Kenji Croman captures photos from INSIDE huge waves off coast of Hawaii (0)

  28. Rosie O'Donnell shuts down Nicolle Wallace in anti-Bush rant over Katrina response (0)

  29. Self-driving cars now need a permit in California (0)

  30. A woman 'choked her husband' in front of a Nashville Margaritaville because he wouldn't buy her a hat  (0)

  31. CBS permanently pull Rihanna from NFL telecast after profane tweet (0)

  32. Whitney Houston's first live album, DVD set for Nov. 10 release (0)

  33. Tom Hiddleston to star in King Kong prequel 'Skull Island' (0)

  34. Marvel and Disney release official plot details for 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' (0)

  35. Masseuse is fired by Swiss football club after she performs sex act on a player in front of the team (but four other clubs are keen to hire her!) (0)

  36. 'It's like creating your own episode of Cops': Video gamers swarming opponents with SWAT teams using fake active shooter emergencies in revenge prank trend (0)

  37. Texas set to execute female murderer tomorrow 10 years after she killed her girlfriend's son  (0)

  38. The fashion show must go on: Man crashes through roof and plunges 30ft to the ground during catwalk show at London Fashion Week but the parade continues (0)

  39. Leonardo DiCaprio named Messenger of Peace by the U.N. (0)

  40. 'Ghostbusters' doughnuts to be sold at Krispy Kreme (0)

  41. Rosie O'Donnell speaks on why she left 'The View' (0)

  42. Cara Delevingne to star in John Green's 'Paper Towns' (0)

  43. Nasa reveals Boeing and SpaceX to build America's new 'space taxi' (0)

  44. Former 'teacher of the year,' 61, accused of chopping off up to 12 inches of hair from his girlfriend's head while hugging her (0)

  45. Anthony Weiner's sexting pal Sydney Leathers returns to porn (0)

  46. Banker fed up with barking shot dead neighbors' corgi puppy in front of horrified owners... but he got the WRONG dog (0)

  47. 2 Americans killed in Taliban suicide attack on a military convoy in Kabul Tuesday morning (0)

  48. Obama warns America 'can't dawdle' on Ebola as he warns African epidemic could infect 'hundreds of thousands' and jeopardize US national security (0)

  49. Matthew Frein named as survivalist on the run who has promised mass murder (0)

  50. 'Revenge' releases dramatic season four trailer (0)