By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer
Back in November, anti-government protests broke out in the Ukraine when pro-Russia president Viktor Yanukovych chose an economic deal with Russia over the European Union (EU). Yanukovych was removed from power in February, and Russian President Vladimir Putin responded by moving troops into the Crimea region of the Ukraine. Crimean leaders and citizens then voted to become part of Russia, in a move that the USA, EU, and international organizations rejected. Now, pro-Russia protesters are moving beyond Crimea, and have taken over several government buildings in the Ukraine.
The USA says it has “strong evidence” that the protesters who seized state buildings in east Ukrainian cities are being paid by Russia to cause chaos. Ukraine’s acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, says, “Enemies of Ukraine are trying to play out the Crimean scenario, but we will not let this happen.” He went on to call out the actions of “separatist groups coordinated by Russian special services” who are trying to move in on more territory. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said that they will resist Russia’s plan for “foreign troops to cross the border and seize the territory of the country.”
The pro-European government in Kiev, with the support of the international community, will continue pushing back against Putin’s land grab. The USA in particular is keeping a very close eye on the situation. “We’re concerned about what we’ve seen,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney. “We’re going to continue to monitor developments there to make clear to Russia that there will be costs for further transgressions, violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, even as we engage with Russia in an effort to encourage Russia to de-escalate the situation and pursue a diplomatic resolution to the crisis.”
Featured image courtesy of UkrProgress on YouTube. Image of international meeting courtesy of US Department of State on Flickr.