Protests Stall Kiev as Ukraine finds itself at European Crossroads

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Tensions mar Kiev on the fourth day following the sudden step-up of an otherwise peaceful protestation at Independence Street, on the 18th February.

Ukraine protests
Tensions mar Kiev on the fourth day following the sudden step-up of an otherwise peaceful protestation at Independence Street, on the 18th February.

Ukraine got the first hint of trouble in November 2013 when its national government refused an agreement with the European Union and eventually accepted an economic deal offered by Russia. In the days following the deal, the country witnessed severe protestations by the public which prompted the government to come up with ‘Anti-Protest Laws’ in January 2014 with impositions and curtailing so crippling that they were almost anti-democratic in nature.

Though the laws were revoked later on, following a violent escalation of protests in, turmoil continued to grapple the country’s capital Kiev finally coming to a head on 18th February with sudden and abrupt  violence disturbing the otherwise peaceful nature of the ensuing protestations against the economic deal brokered with Russia. There again, it is still unknown as to whether the protesters triggered the violence or whether the police was responsible for unnecessarily involving violence into the fray.

But in the days following the triggering of the violence, there have been official reports of four people dying with nearly 200 policemen being injured with at least 85 requiring to be hospitalised. These incidents of violence have been the worst the city has seen in seven decades, prompting EU to come up with a mandate of potential sanctioning for the country including freezing of assets and banning of visas for those go

The latest update however is that Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych has finally agreed to negotiate a deal with the leaders of the opposition and EU diplomats in a bid to reach to a more amicable situation allowing for the nation’s interests. Referred to as the Agreement on the Settlement of Crisis, this deal is expected to be signed on Friday, 21st February at 12 PM (Local Ukrainian Time) inside the Presidential Administration.

Despite these promising statements made by the Ukrainian officials, officials from other European Union members (mainly France) have cautioned that the opposition leaders and members are yet to corroborate and substantiate these statements as released by the Ukrainian authorities.

Caught in a Unique Tug-of-War: Background to the Ukrainian Conflict

Ukraine, one of the erstwhile Soviet Union’s important bastions, finds itself at a very unique crossroads caught between the European Union and Russia. These protests currently plaguing the country are predominant in the Western part of the region where the public is keener towards the country entering the fold of EU rather than to the polities of its Eastern neighbour resulting in the emergence and dominance of a polity of a more throwback nature.

Alongside this factor, the growing sense of dissent by the public towards the government’s apathy towards them and their needs whilst coming up with measures to incapacitate their civil rights further, has also accounted for the protests against the governmental authorities causing the world’s eyes to be riveted on it.

Photo courtesy Christaan Triebert/Flickr/Creative Commons

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