Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-Chief
Last Modified: 00:35 a.m. EDT, 20 February 2014
KIEV, Ukraine – Protesters who had been barricaded in the city’s trade union building which they were using as an operation base, remain steadfast in their cause, despite security forces deadly attack against them. Casualties have ensued on both sides as Tuesday at least 11 demonstrators and seven police officers were killed in the ensuing confrontations.
Security forces are reported to have set fire to the building, with the intent of forcing protest leaders out into the open where snipers could have a clear shot. According to The Independent, “opposition leader Aleksandr Turchinov was among those said to have been shot as he stood on the stage, but it was unclear how seriously he was hurt.”
Despite mounting pressure and international condemnation of the suppressive measures instituted by President Viktor Yanukovych, both sides remain resolute in their positions, as fires back-light the historic city of Kiev, and the epicenter of the violence – Independence Square, also known as the Maidan.
The opposition leaders are at least open to talks, and even U.S. Vice President Joe Biden acknowledged that the protestors have “legitimate grievances” which need to be addressed. According to The Independent, Biden called Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych and urged him to meet with and seriously consider the proposals for political reform that would lead to an end of the violence.
At issue is Ukraine’s potential return to Soviet governance, if not in fact, then as a political and economic expediency. Ukraine gained its freedom as an autonomous nation on 16 July 1990, when its’ parliament adopted “the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine. The declaration established the principles of the self-determination of the Ukrainian nation, its democracy, political and economic independence, and the priority of Ukrainian law on the Ukrainian territory over Soviet law. (Source: Wikipedia)
With the global economic meltdown, Ukraine, like many other countries suffered severe financial instability which required large amounts of capital infusion to keep the government solvent. Two solutions were on the table, and to the chagrin and amazement of the citizenry, President Yanukovych spurned a historic trade and political agreement with European Union in favor of a £9bn financial bailout from Russia.