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Ongoing Protests in the Ukraine

The unrest in Ukraine has continued despite concessions from the government including the resignation of the sitting Prime Minister, Mykola Azarov, and his entire ministerial team as well as the scrapping of anti-protest laws which were passed by the country’s parliament 2 weeks ago.

Ukraine’s legislators also passed an amnesty bill to protect the protesters from prosecution after the opposition groups took control of several government buildings, including the Ministry of Justice and several regional government buildings. Several of these buildings are located in the Russian-speaking regions of the country, which are traditionally considered the government’s popular base with the uprising having greater momentum in the Ukrainian-speaking regions of the country, demonstrating the opposition groups may now attract greater support than the government.

However this is unlikely to appease the opposition groups and protesters who are fighting to maintain Ukraine’s independence from Russia after it offered a $15 billion bailout for Ukraine, however President Putin has put a brake on the latest instalment of the bailout until Ukraine has elected a new government, a move which oddly favours the opposition who will settle for nothing more than the resignation of Ukraine’s sitting President, Viktor Yanukovych.

These opposition groups will have only had their beliefs galvanised after three people involved in the protests were shot dead by police last week. These events along with rumours that the police are being assisted by civilian militias will only encourage fears of an out-and-out civil war, an eventuality forewarned against by European Union High Representative for Foreign and Security Affairs, Catherine Ashton, politican and boxer Vitali Klitschko and Leonid Kravchuk, Ukraine’s first President following its independence from the Soviet bloc.

With the resignation of the government and these concessions, the government looks to have given more ground than the opposition groups have. However, as the police shootings and the occupation of government buildings show, the unrest is but a few inches away from an out-and-out civil war.

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