Tension builds in and around this Eastern European country
Last month, trouble swept through Ukraine, an Eastern European nation that is home to 44.6 million people. The country, which sits on Russia’s western border, has close ties to Russia. Nearly a quarter of the population of Ukraine speaks Russian.
Ukraine’s president, Viktor Yanukovych, has been removed from power. He was in office from 2010 to 2014. In November, he refused to sign a trade agreement with the European Union. When he later signed a loan deal with Russia, peaceful protests began. Protesters called for elections and a new government.
In mid-February, clashes with the police left an estimated 80 protesters dead and hundreds injured. After the violence, Yanukovych lost the support of the military and Parliament. Without agreeing to give up his power, he fled Kiev, the capital. Russia has offered him protection. After Yanukovych abandoned his home, Ukrainian citizens peered into the windows of the president’s palace. Its lavish richness is a symbol of inequality in a country that struggles with corruption.
An Uncertain Future
Last week, the Ukrainian Parliament named its speaker, Oleksandr Turchynov, temporary president. As of March 4, Russian troops had moved into the Crimea region, in southern Ukraine.
Although new elections are set for May 25, events may call for officials to move faster than that. United States Secretary of State John Kerry visited Kiev to meet with leaders there.
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