by CAROLINE GAVURA Section Editor
There have been violent protests, the Ukraine president has fled the country, and Crimea has voted to join Russia, but what is really going on in Ukraine? And why should we care?
This huge mess all started in November when Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych announced he was abandoning the agreement he made that would strengthen ties with the European Union, instead focusing on creating ties with Moscow. Protestors then took to the streets in anger.
Protestors wanted a closer relationship with Europe and an end to Yanukovych’s growing ties with Russia. These protests became violent in February when protestors felt Yanukovych was not willing to change his attitude toward Russia. Rather than negotiating, Yanukovich had activists put in jail and tortured.
After government troops under his control attacked and killed 82 protestors in Kiev on February 22, Yanukovych fled the country and escaped to Russia. The Ukrainian Parliament replaced him with interim President Oleksandr Turchinov, who issued a warrant for Yanukovych’s arrest.
“It is unbelievable that after all the horrible things he did, Yanukovych fled to Russia and still claims he is the legitimate president of Ukraine. He is a coward and should deal with the consequences of killing those innocent people,” said senior Kylie Scannella.
Crimea, which is located in southern Ukraine, has become the center of the news recently after it voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. While Crimea has its own parliament, it is still technically part of Ukraine and does not have the right to secede. More than half the population of Crimea is of Russian ethnicity, which might add to the reason why many of them are protesting to join Russia.
Assault troops wearing ski masks, assumed to be from Russia, stormed into the Crimea parliament building and cut off Crimea from the rest of Ukraine. Elected officials were taken out by gunpoint and replaced by pro-Russia politicians, who voted to secede from Ukraine.
Russian president Vladimir Putin has supported this vote and is trying to prevent a tighter bond between Ukraine and Europe. He believes all the nations that were under the Soviet Union’s control before they were liberated should return under Russia’s control.
The United States and the European Union have declared that Crimea is breaking international law by seceding from Ukraine. They believe Putin is risking war by disrupting the peaceful democracies that were set up after the Cold War.
“The Soviet Union controlled Crimea until 1991. They’ve only had a few years to be a liberated democracy and Putin already wants control of them again. It’s ridiculous,” says junior Maryluz Carvajal.
Ignoring all warnings, Russia has ratified a treaty to add Crimea to the Russian Federation. It needs to be approved by the upper House of Parliament and signed by Putin, but once it goes through, there will be a large risk of war.
While the last thing anyone wants is war, the fact that Russia ignored the United States’ threats makes it almost necessary to interfere.
What do you think about the crisis in Crimea?