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It has been 4 years “since” 2014

On August 24th, 1991 Ukraine become an independent country portraying itself as a democrat state by existing in a benign geopolitical environment. Ukraine is a nation that has inherited a rich history and distinct cultural heritage.

It has been four years since the ousting of Viktor Yanukowych, the annexation of the strategically important Black Sea peninsula of Crimea by Putin’s Russia, the election and inauguration of president Petro Poroshenko, the downing of Malaysia Airline by pro-Russian rebels, and the invasion and control of eastern Ukraine.by Russia. These events have played an important role in Ukraine’s struggle to defend its sovereignty. Also, not to forget the Orange Revolution of 2004, the mass protest which forced the rerun of a fraud presidential election. This period was an opportunity for Ukraine to sign a historical deal with the European Union that would have allowed Ukraine to engage and conduct a free economic condition within its border; that never materialized for the Ukrainian people.

To reflect, look at November 28, 2013.  Ukraine missed its last chance to sign a historic long in the making integration deal with the European Union, because of that, thousands of protesters gathered in Kyiv to demand that Yanukowych accept the deal. On the other hand, under immense pressure from Putin, it was decided instead to pursue closer ties with Moscow.  The outcome of this, angry protesters erected barricades in Kyiv’s Independence Square, start of a revolution; peaceful protests developed into a ferocious cycle of violence. On January 28, 2014, Viktor Yanukowych accepted the resignation of his entire government and stepped down to appease the protesters.  The toll of that upheaval had more than 100 dead, over 1800 wounded and the president fleeing the country, abdicating his responsibilities, an interim government was formed.

As this transition and unrest was taking place in Ukraine after Yanukovych’s flight, Vladimir Putin steps into the picture, pulling off a bold power play reminiscent of 20th century politics grabbing Ukraine’s wealthy geographically province of Crimea, including Sevastopol. This city port, large naval base has been a strategically significant maritime gateway for Russia since the late 18th century, the focal point of the takeover. The strategic peninsula of Ukraine was taken over on February 27, 2014 by imperialistic Russia. Next day, Vladimir Putin started sending Russian troops into Crimea, and by March 18, 2014, it was clear, Russia’s empire started to be restored.

Crimea in the hands of Putin wasted no time during the first week of April. He sent in pro-Russian separatists to destabilize and seized Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine. Seizure of government buildings, declaration of allegiance to Moscow, Putin’s rebels soon controlled large swaths of Ukraine’s eastern provinces. On May 11, 2014 Crimea voted overwhelmingly in favor of union with Russia, under the observance of Moscow. The situation in Ukraine throughout that month was tense even with the election of Petro Poroshenko on May 25th as the new president.

Then on July 17, 2014, anther crisis erupted, a Malaysia Airlines Boeing, 777 had been blown out of the sky in the Russian occupied area of eastern Ukraine by a Russian -made missile.  Vladimir Putin stuck to his claim that Ukraine was to blame for the incident, since it occurred over Ukraine’s airspace. To date no nation significantly challenged Putin about the horrific tragic incident.

By the end of October of 2014, the situation in general and particularly in eastern Ukraine remained fraught with uncertainty in many facets. Before the end of 2014, western nations tried to help stabilize Ukraine’s new government, trying to quell Vladimir Putin’s aggression by imposing some sanctions. Europeans relying on Russia’s oil and gas became hesitant to secure Ukraine’s integrity, came up with the Minsk agreement.

Present day Ukraine has been divided between a degree of national consciousness and a sense of identity erased by genocide. It seems that Ukraine wishes to preserve its native heritage and implement many democratic values but at the same time not to be pressured by Russia’s medieval imperialist abyss. Perhaps the future will bring a diplomatic solution or perhaps it will not, time will tell.

The present Ukrainian government is interested in putting an end to the violence in eastern Ukraine. Probably it is time for Ukraine to step up to the plate and restore confidence by bringing the country back into one sovereign nation. This “since” has played out to a global audience, back to 2014.

About The Author

Peter J. Manastyrsky, a member of the Ukrainian community in Winnipeg.

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