What started it all?
The Ukrainian government worked for years to land a trade deal with the European Union. However, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych had a change of heart back in November when he refused to sign a political and economic association pact with the EU under pressure from Russia.
This decision created tension among the Ukrainian people.
The country split into two sides; supporters of Russia and supporters of Europe. Industrial workers in the eastern half favor closer ties with Russia while the majority in the western half have closer ties with Europe.
The Russian side:
The Ukrainian/Opposition side:
Why did the protests intensify in January?
President Yanukovych sent anti-legislation laws to the parliament in Ukraine which banned most forms of protest in the country. As a result of the laws, demonstrators could no longer wear masks or helmets and anyone who blockaded public buildings could face five-years in jail.
Over 200,000 supporters of the opposition took to the centre of Kiev to protest the new laws.
What is going on now?
The protest movement in Ukraine simmered for months reaching a climax over the past few weeks.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych fled Kiev but vowed never to resign.
Parliament voted to strip Yanukovych of power for failing in his presidential duties and called early elections.
Former Prime Minister and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, Yanukovych’s main political rival, is released from prison. She told supporters “the dictatorship has fallen” and confirmed she will run for president in the May 25 election.
The speaker of Ukraine’s parliament, Oleksandr Turchynov, has been appointed as interim president. Parliament voted for Turchynov to act as head of state until new elections are held on May 25.
Ukraine’s ousted President Yanukovych shows up in Russia and announces that he was not overthrown, but fled under threat to his life.
The whole world watches and waits to see what will happen…