The unrest in the Eastern European country of Ukraine has grown tense over the past few months since the beginning of the “Euromaidan” – or Eurosquare – protests.
Since last November, protestors have been gathering in the capital city of Kiev calling for a change in government and now a new development has arisen. With President Viktor Yanukovych on the run after being ousted last week, suspected Russian militants have taken over airports in a region of Ukraine where he is said to have fled.
Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has called the appearance of the masked Russian soldiers an “invasion and occupation,” after airports in the towns of Simferpol and Sevastopol were siezed. Crimea, which is located near the Black Sea, is where Russia’s fleet docks its boats. Russia has denied all claims that they have men blocking access to the airport. However, BBC reports there is swirling military activity in the region.
Yesterday, President Yanukovych issued a statement where he declared himself the true leader of Ukraine and asked for Russia’s assistance saying, “I have to ask Russia to ensure my personal safety from extremists” as shown in two state-ran news agencies in the country. Russian president Vladimir Putin has yet to publicly speak on the current matter, but the Washington Post reports that the leader is not pleased with the unrest throughout the Ukraine.
President Putin’s relationship has been icy of late with President Yanukovych, this after Russia provided Ukraine with billions of dollars of financial aid and other resources that may go unpaid in return. The assumed Russian takeover, while not publicly ordered, still leaves the impression that President Putin is in control. According to Minister Avakov, the soldiers have not hidden their connection to Russia.
“I regard what is happening as an armed invasion and occupation in violation of all international treaties and norms. This is a direct provoking of armed bloodshed on the territory of a sovereign state,” wrote Avakov on Facebook.
President Yanukovych is rumored to be in Moscow now and while Russia will offer the leader shelter, he has been criticized in local media as a coward who left his country at a time where citizens needed him.
Photo: Sky News