Ukraine Sees Tensions Mount as Protesters Gather in Kiev
Hundreds of thousands of people have gathered on the streets of Kiev in protest of the leadership of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, The New York Times reports.
The calls of “Gang, get out” echoed throughout the Ukrainian capital during the later parts of the weekend and into Monday, according to the Times. Protestors have risen up against Yanukovich’s presidency in a manner that resembles the so-called Orange Revolution of nearly 10 years ago. This time, however, the issue at stake is not election fraud — it is economics. The protesters have been touched off by Yanukovich’s refusal to sign a deal with the European Union that would move the Ukraine closer to the Western block of nations.
Yanukovich’s veto stopped last-minute attempts to broker a deal, which fell apart during a summit in Vilnius late last week, The New York Times reports. Though the European Union was offering customs reductions and millions of euros in financing, the Ukrainian president felt as if the package was insufficient to warrant consideration. Instead, he has ostensibly chosen to side with the Russians, who are the main suppliers of natural gas into the Ukraine and thus control the country’s energy pipelines, literally and metaphorically.