What is Happening in Ukraine?

Image courtesy: Wikemedia Commons

Where is Ukraine on the world map?

Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

 

Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It was born in 1991, when the enormous USSR disintegrated in 15 smaller countries. The capital city of Ukraine is Kiev and the official language of the country is Ukrainian.

 

Look at the above featured map of Ukraine. The east and south of the country are closer to Russia. This part of the country speaks Russian. They are happier with goverment’s decisions that bring them closer to Russia. The west and north are closer to Europe.  These people want goverment’s policies to bring them closer to Europe. Therefore, there is a big divide within the country. In terms of what people want from the government, Ukraine is split into two halves.

What is happening in Ukraine these days ?

There are protests happening all over in European-facing half of Ukraine, especially in and  around the capital city of Kiev. Protesters are taking over government buildings and hundreds are getting hurt in clashes between the protesters and the police.

Why is it happening?

Protests happen when people are unhappy. Ukrainians are unhappy.  Don’t you protest when you disagree with something that someone else says? All the time!

Image Credit: Flickr User mac-ivan, via CC

So, what are Ukrainians in disagreement with?

Europe facing Ukraine is not in agreement with their current government led by President Viktor Yanukovych. He was voted to power by Russia friendly part of Ukraine in 2004. Ever since coming to power, President Yanukovych’s  has made decisions that bring Ukraine closer to Russia. For example, In 2008, when Ukraine was considering becoming a member of NATO (a group of countries across North America and Europe,where its members agree to defend each other in case they are attacked by any external country). Russia did not want that to happen. So it threatened a missile attack on Ukraine. As a result, President Yanukovych stepped back, and Ukraine never joined NATO. Europe friendly Ukraine is unhappy with this decision.

In November of 2013, Yanukovych was expected to sign a ‘trade agreement’ with the European Union. The agreement would have resulted in a free trade deal with Europe. This would have brought Ukraine closer to the Europe. Russia was uneasy again that its number one trading partner Ukraine is looking  to trade with European countries as well. So, President Yanukovych backed out of this, and the trade deal was never signed.

It seems that Russia is almost bullying Ukraine to stay closer to it or atleast that is what some Ukrainians are feeling. While many Ukrainians, mostly the ones that live in the east and south of the country don’t mind it, Ukrainians living in Europe facing Ukraine do not like it at all. They are the ones protesting.

Is this the only reason?

Russia’s influence on Ukraine is not the only reason why the people are unhappy. Ukrainians are overall unhappy with the government because of the country’s economy. It is not doing good which means that people are not doing very well. They not able to live very comfortably. Hence, they are protesting publicly to show their frustration and anger against the government. Sadly, these protests are not peaceful and people are getting hurt.

Hope everything settles down soon. After all nothing is more precious than human life.

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