Crisis in Ukraine: Resisting oppression

ukraine

Kali Robinson

Assistant Managing Editor

“I’m dying.”

These words were tweeted by 21-year-old volunteer medic Olesysa Zhukovska as blood rushed from her neck Thursday, Feb. 20.

She was shot by a sniper in Independence Square, the heart of protests in Kiev, Ukraine. Zhukovska was rushed to medical care and is now in recovery. The picture or Zhukovska – clutching her bleeding neck – received more than 6,000 re-tweets in 24 hours, sparking widespread rumors of her death.

Although her prediction proved false, Zhukovska’s message was one of many that flooded the internet speaking to the current violence in Kiev. This violence included Ukranian police targeting journalists with visible identification and medics with the corresponding logo on their clothing. The people in Ukraine are not simply competing for freedom of speech, but simply the right to assemble peaceably to voice their opinions about current government concerns and immediate safety threats.

The crisis in Ukraine has recently escalated to rumors of US action and world intervention. It began with increasingly unified and progressively violent protests. Bodies piled up as national leaders discussed whether or not the bloodshed would give way to bureaucracy and how or if they should intervene.

According to the Associated Press, protestors arrived on foot from as far as Vradiyevka, a town some 330 kilometers (200 miles) south of the capital, to revolt against the violence of their corrupted government.

Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych fled his residence near capital city Kiev on Feb. 22 after months of violent protests – many of which ended in death. Yanukovych passed off many of his authoritative privileges to parliament. Speaker of the parliament, Alexander Turchynov, was named acting president Feb. 23.

Crimea, the 100-seat parliament which was under current Ukrainian law, voted 78-0, with eight abstentions in favor of holding the referendum, and in favor of joining Russia. Local voters were given the choice to decide to remain part of Ukraine, but with enhanced local powers.

On Tuesday, March 4, President Vladimir Putin insisted residents of Crimea have the right to determine the region’s status in a referendum. Putin called a meeting of his Security Council on Thursday to discuss Ukraine.

A referendum had previously been scheduled in Crimea on March 30, but the question to be put to voters was on whether their region should have “state autonomy” within Ukraine.

Regardless of what the Ukraine citizens decide politically, there needs to be peaceful resolution. If President Putin rejects that, someone must accept it soon – before more lives are lost.

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