Monday, 3 March 2014

The Ukraine Conflict explained to children

 Viktor Yanukovych at the Annual Meeting 2013 of the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, January 24, 2013. Image: World Economic Forum

President Viktor Yanukovych was thrown out of Ukraine’s government last week.

The former president called it a coup d’état, which in this case means that political power was taken from him by force.

Ukraine parliament say they impeached Yanukovych (made the decision to remove him).
Several weeks ago, peaceful protestors took to the streets when the president suddenly went back on his word to join the European Union (EU); instead, he wanted to be closer to Russia.

The people of Ukraine felt they could have a stronger economy with the EU and also a more democratic government. But Yanukovych turned his back on the negotiations with the EU and made a deal with Russia instead. Russia and Ukraine had been part of the Soviet Union before it collapsed in 1991.

When Yanukovych put in laws and penalties that made it illegal for the protestors to make their ideas public, the protests turned to violent riots. When a cease-fire was called to discuss a solution to the riots, the president refused to support it and instead became violent towards the protesters.
Just before his impeachment, Yanukovych fled Ukraine’s capital city, Kyiv, to travel to another Ukrainian city with close ties to Russia. It was reported Sunday that when he tried to fly to Russia, his airplane was held back.

The parliament also released Ukraine’s former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, who has been in a prison hospital for two years, put there by Yanukovych on false charges. She has arrived in Kyiv and has praised the protesters.

An ally of Tymoshenko has been appointed interim president. It is still being decided if Yanukovych will face charges for the violence.

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