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Russia without Ukraine is a country;
Russia with Ukraine is an empire.

During the Great War, Germany grabbed Ukraine
and Lenin took it back
During the Great Pariotic War, Germany grabbed Ukraine
and Stalin took it back
During the Winter Olympiad, Germany grabbed Ukraine
and Putin let it slip away

Ukraine - Crisis - February 2014

"We want to build a new Ukraine where there would be no ‘blatnye’ [chosen ones]."

2014 Crisis Although the discontent that erupted in November 2014 was at first focused on the about-face move on EU ties, rallies took on a more general anti-government quality, calling for the president's ouster and early elections. The months-long demonstrations saw occasional outbursts of violence between radical protesters and police, but the scale of bloodshed in mid-February 2014 marked an escalation that provoked international outrage and forced authorities to mediate a negotiated solution to the unrest.

Authorities say around 80 people died, although opposition parties believe the real number may be much greater. The Health Ministry said more than 600 were injured over five days of fighting. Authorities and opposition traded accusations over who instigated the round of violence that erupted 19 February 2014 after a crowd marched toward parliament intent on storming the building. An uneasy truce was called, only to be shattered early the following day. Dozens were killed, mainly from gunshot wounds. Opposition figures accused security forces of firing on protesters, while the authorities maintain the increasingly well-armed and aggressive anti-government movement attempted to mount a violent seizure of power.

Ukraine Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych on 21 February 2014 announced an early presidential election and a return to an earlier constitution in concessions aimed at finding an end to the bloody political crisis gripping the country. Earlier in the day, Yanukovych met with opposition leaders and signed a document intended to end the unrest. The country's parliament has already granted a central demand of the opposition and approved a bill to restore the 2004 constitution, designed to limit presidential powers and make Ukraine a parliamentary republic.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych left Kyiv 21 February 2014 and his presidential offices in Kyiv were left unguarded, with opposition protesters apparently in full control of the government district. Parliament voted to approve a key opposition demand by restoring the 2004 constitution, designed to limit presidential powers and make Ukraine a parliamentary republic. The deal overseen by EU envoys and Kremlin-appointed mediator stated that an interim government should be formed in the coming days. Ukraine's parliament voted 22 February to impeach the president as opposition parties rushed to consolidate their apparently growing hold on authority in the former Soviet nation.

Starting 28 February 2014, Russian army troops took over Crimea's three airports. Military helicopters and transport planes started shuttling troops and supplies into the peninsula. Armed checkpoints manned by Russian-speaking men are controlling the sole highway from the mainland to the peninsula. Russian consular officials started distributing Russian passports to policemen in Crimea.

US President Barack Obama said he was “deeply concerned” by reports of Russian troop movements inside Crimea. “Russia has a historic relationship with Ukraine, including cultural and economic ties, and a military facility in Crimea,” Obama told reporters in Washington. “But any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing, which is not in the interest of Ukraine, Russia, or Europe.” Obama said the United States would stand with the international community “in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.”

Moscow’s envoy to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, said Friday that Russia was operating in Crimea within the terms of a lease agreement for its Black Sea Fleet. "We have an agreement with Ukraine on basing of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, and we operate under this agreement," Churkin said, speaking after an informal emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.

The situation in Ukraine was unpredictable and could change quickly. Further violent clashes between police and protesters in Kyiv and other cities were possible. The location and nature of demonstrations and methods employed by the police could change quickly and without warning. Protest sites have drawn large crowds, and protesters have blocked roads in Kyiv and other cities and may do so again.

Protests in Kyiv began on 21 November 2013, following the Government of Ukraine’s announcement that it was suspending preparations to sign an association agreement with the European Union. On November 30, police severely injured several demonstrators in an attempt to remove them from Independence Square. Protesters retaliated by occupying Kyiv’s Independence Square, City Administration Building (i.e. City Hall) and other buildings. Since then, there have been several clashes between protestors and police resulting in numerous injuries. On 19 January 2014, violence escalated with protesters and police using stones, Molotov cocktails, tear gas and rubber bullets. Since then, and particularly with further violence on 18 February 2014, the situation escalated significantly with protesters and police using stones, Molotov cocktails, tear gas and rubber bullets.

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Page last modified: 01-03-2014 17:04:12 ZULU