A Scene From Kiev. Credit Here.
In the last few months, many citizens of Ukraine have been protesting decisions made by the Ukrainian President Yanukovych. The President of Ukraine refused a deal with the European Union that would have integrated them, but took a bailout from Russia worth $15 billion USD.
President Yanukovych is seen to many as ruthless. He is accused of poisoning his predecessor and has imprisoned some other political figures.
This act by Yanukovych is so controversial to the Ukrainian people because it moves the Ukraine closer to the Kremlin. Ukraine is trying to decide if it should move back with its historical neighbors in Europe or to Russia, who it was in the Soviet Union with. Many of the people, understandably, do not want to ally the country with Putin and the Russians, but do not have much political say. In recent moves, Yanukovych has outlawed the right to assemble and has ushered in an, according to opposition, dictatorship.
Protests have been taking place since November. In the last week, however, extreme violence has erupted in Kiev. Destruction has ravaged the capital for days now. Snipers, automatic weapons, and Molotov cocktails have all been used by both sides. Overhead photos from building show fire raging through Kiev against the night sky, and it looks like a scene from the initial Iraq invasion.
Doctors have confirmed that police forces are shooting to kill, hitting the heart, brain, and neck of protestors. The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said that he is “appalled by the use of firearms by both the police and protesters” but wants the authorities to exercise restraint. Sanctions and harsh criticism have been coming from the United States, Britain, Germany, and other Western nations.
This affects the West because it is another residual conflict stemming from the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The Ukrainian government is siding with Russia, who is seen around the world as currently still very much like what the political situation was in the USSR. We need the Ukraine to ally themselves with the West, and the government needs to stop the dictatorial draconian laws outlawing freedoms like assembly. The USSR is a thing of the past, and the Ukraine must decide now if it is going to move forward or be stuck in history.