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A striking event of the year 2014 which drew our attention for months is the violent protests in Ukraine and Crimea following the Ukrainian president’s decision to abandon a deal with Europe.

It takes a spark to ignite a fire. In the month of November 2013, the government of the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych declared that it had decided to abandon an association deal that would have otherwise fortified the bond with the European Union. Instead, it had decided to extend hand to Moscow in the hope of developing closer connections with them. On 17 December 2013, the Russian President Vladimir Putin, announced his decision to buy $15 bn worth of bonds in Ukraine government, including a decrease in the cost of Russia’s natural gas.

This proclamation sparked uproar in Ukraine since many people were not in favor of the decision made. Protestors took to the streets, demanding closer ties be made with Europe and demanding an end to Yanukovych's growing connection with Russia. Around 300,000 protestors gathered at Kiev’s Independence Square. However, it was said that on Yanukovych’s demand people were put in jail while his government made every attempt to attack the activists and harass the people. On January 22, three protestors were reported to have died.

The people were left with no hope for any kind of compromises or negotiations on the part of the president. Ukraine’s Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, eventually resigned on 28 January 2014. The fleeing of Ukraine president from the capital on 22 February 2014 followed; owing to the killing of over 100 protestors by his government. Since he was held responsible for the deaths of all those protestors, a warrant to arrest Yanukovych was issued.

The Ukrainian revolution led to the Crimean crisis, as the pro-Russian Crimeans demanded a separation from Ukraine. Russian soldiers took control of Crimea on 27 February 2014. A referendum was held in which the people of Crimea were asked to decide whether they want to side with Russia or based on the 1992 constitution opt for autonomy from Ukraine. Crimea’s election committee declared that 97% of the voters were in favor of a union being formed between Crimea and Russia. The Crimean Parliament announced its independence from Ukraine on 17 March 2014 and on April 15 the parliament of Ukrainian stated that the territory of Crimea is temporarily being occupied by the Russian Federation.

In the Ukrainian presidential election on Sunday, May 25, Petro Poroshenko, the former economy minister of the country is believed to have won with an outright majority of 56% votes, as per exit polls. While Yulia Tymoshenko, the former prime minister was lagging behind by almost 13%. The election on Sunday is considered the most crucial election since Independence as it will decide the fate of the nation after the great turmoil that happened. Poroshenko said, “The first steps that must be taken must focus on finishing the war, the chaos, and bring peace to a united Ukraine."

References: Wikipedia, BBC.com ,USA TODAY.com

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