What's Going On In The Ukraine? The History Behind What Has Led to the Conflict Between The Ukraine and Russia

by Lindsay Shapka in ,

I don't know about you, but I feel like I am being bombarded with news about violence, protests, military takeovers and corruption in the Ukraine, Russia and Crimea. But, I am having trouble sifting through it all to understand what is REALLY happening and why.

The peaceful protest in Independence Square in Kiev, December 2013 (source) 

The peaceful protest in Independence Square in Kiev, December 2013 (source

Through some research and some conversations with friends who are familiar with the history of the countries involved, I have compiled some basic information to get a general understanding about what is going on in the Ukraine.  

  • In November 2013, President Yanukovich of the Ukraine refused to join the European Union (something that he had implied to the Ukrainian people that he was going to join). From November 23-29, peaceful protests erupted all of the country, while the people demanded that the President sign the papers. 
  • During the night of Nov. 30, 2013, the peaceful protesters were attacked and beaten (many of them students and women). Understandably, more and more people flooded the capital demanding that those responsible for the beatings be punished. 
  • On December 8, 2013, after the government pretended the beatings did not happen, more than a million people around the country marched to demand a resignation of President Yanukovich.
  • Throughout December, the government started arresting protesters and ignoring their calls for justice. Protesters began taking over administration buildings in Kiev and planning protests near the homes of government officials.
  • On January 16, 2014, twenty anti-democratic and unconstitutional laws were passed in the Ukraine parliament including a sentence of 15 years (!) in prison for protesting. The protesting increased as a result of these laws, becoming more radical. 
  • The regime ignored all the protests and began to arrest all of the protesters they could. Violence escalated. The government used violence, kidnapping and torture to try and control the population. Kiev turned into a war zone.
  • On February 18, 2014, snipers started shooting protesters in the centre of Kiev. The protestors burned vehicles and tires to provide smoke cover so that they could not be seen.
  • Feb 20, 2014, more than 30,000 people had barricaded themselves in Independence Square in Kiev. They created walls using the bricks from the road and sidewalks.
  • Feb 24, 2014, President Yanukovich disappeared and there were reports that he was hiding at a Russian military base in Crimea. A "new" government was put in place, but it was corrupt and still communicating with Yanukovich. 
  • Feb 28, 2014, Yanukovich gave a press conference in Russia saying that he did not support the new government in Ukraine and asked Putin to help him restore order. 
  • March 1, 2014, a pro-Russian man was assigned as the minister of Crimea illegally, journalists were no longer allowed to take photos of the military, and the Russian Federation gave Putin permission to place military forces in the Ukraine. 
  • March 2, 2014, the Ukraine asked the EU, NATO and the US for help. They all agreed that Putin's actions needed to be stopped. Protests continued all across the country. 
  • On March 3, 2014, Russia continued to strengthen forces against Ukraine, crossing the boarder both on land and in the air. The similarities between Putin, Hitler and Stalin is extremely disturbing. 
  • In Paris on March 5, 2014, talks between Russia and Western powers ended without any agreement. 
  • On March 8, 2014, the US and France warn of "new measures" to be taken if Russia does not withdraw all troops from the Ukraine. 
  • The US president and Ukraine's interim Prime Minister agreed to stand together on March 12, 2014. 

  • Today (March 13, 2014) Ukraine's parliament voted to created a massive National Guard to defend the country from Russia. 

Nope, its not just you, this sounds eerily like the begging of WWI and WWII. Let's hope that the powers that be can resolve this issue as peacefully as possible, as quickly as possible. 

For more information about the conflict, check out these links: What is really happening in the Ukraine?, Ukraine Crisis Timeline, Crimea's Complicated History.