February 24, 2014 8:46 pm

What you need to know about the changing situation in Ukraine

Above: Russia isn’t happy about the latest developments in Ukraine and there are concerns Vladimir Putin could send in troops to protect his country’s interests. Mike Drolet reports.

The situation in Ukraine is starkly different than one week ago, when the streets of the capital became marred by violent clashes and President Viktor Yanukovych was trying to keep a grasp on power.

Story continues below

After dozens were killed and hundreds more injured in Kyiv, Yanukovych agreed on Friday to sign a deal with opposition leaders to end the three-month stand-off.

But as the weekend progressed, the country’s government voted to impeach him, appointed an interim president, freed his rival and former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko – all while Yanukovych fled the capital.

With the situation changing so rapidly, Global News takes a look at some of the significant developments of the past days.

Yanukovych on the run

Yanukovych vowed to not step down following a vote that successfully impeached him. But the now-former president is not only gone from office: He’s on the run.

Yanukovych, elected in 2010, is believed to have fled Kyiv for his residence in Crimea – an area of Ukraine along the Black Sea that’s known to be very pro-Russia.

The government that replaced Yanukovych’s regime issued a warrant for his arrest on Monday for his alleged involvement in the “mass killing” of protesters in the violent crackdown on anti-government demonstrations.

READ MORE: Ukraine agreement brings hope, uncertainty to bloodied country

Other former top-ranking Ukrainian officials are also being sought by police.

The Kyiv Post reported Monday Yanukovych, 63, left the capital on Friday for his Party of Regions congress but did attend.

The next day, border officials prevented Yanukovych and from flying out of Donetsk Airport. Other former government ministers were reportedly seen at or tried to fly out of the same airport.

Yanukovych is believed to have headed to Crimea late Saturday night.

Members of his Party of Regions have reportedly called his flight to Crimea “cowardly.”

Did Yanukovych ditch documents in the sea before he left?

Protesters who took over his luxurious waterfront estate on Saturday found what’s being referred to as a “trove” of documents left behind.

But there were reportedly several documents floating on the surface of the water behind the Mezhyhirya compound, as well as containers of documents that were sunk to the bottom of the lake.

Kyiv Post tweeted a photo of divers jumping into the icy water on Monday to search for more items.

Some of the documents had been burned before being discarded in the water, according to the Guardian, which also reported among the recovered documents was a profile of Tetiana Chornovol — the journalist and activist who had a history of exposing the wealthy lifestyles of Ukrainian officials and was brutally attacked by thugs on Dec. 25, 2013.

TIMELINE: Key events in Ukraine’s anti-government protests

Ukraininan news organizations Ukrainskaya Pravda and the Kyiv Post also revealed documents that reportedly detail how much Yanukovych spent an maintaining the compound, including $30-million Euro chandeliers, $1.2 million worth of furniture and $10,000 in name plaques for the animals at his personal zoo.

WATCH: People roaming around Ukraine Yanukovych’s now vacant residence

Russia’s not happy

“Dictatorial” and “terrorist” are just some of the words appearing in Russian media to describe the ousting of Yanukovych and his government and the actions of the country’s transitional government .

The Russian Foreign Ministry has accused Western governments of acting out of  “geo-political self-interest” and has made allegations of “neo-Nazi and anti-Semitists manifestations” taking place.

It isn’t unexpected that Russia would condemn the latest developments in a political crisis that began with Yanukovych’s Nov. 2013 decision to abandon a publicly popular trade deal with the European Union in order to strengthen the country’s ties with Russia.

READ MORE: Ukraine’s turmoil brings tough challenge to Putin

“This move means that we do not understand what is happening in that country and that there is a threat to our interests, the lives and well-being of our citizens,” Russia Today quoted Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as saying on Monday.

Russia has supported Yanukovych amid the worst violence Ukraine has seen in its 22 years since gaining independence from the former Soviet Union.

Does Russia still have influence in Ukraine?

Yes. In eastern areas of the country, Russian influence is still quite strong.

Protesters in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol carried Russian flags in the streets on Sunday night after electing a Russian citizen as mayor of the city.

According to the Moscow Times, among the 20,000 protesters were people carrying placards bearing phrases such as “[Vladimir] Putin is our president” and “Russia we have been abandoned, take us back!”

Russia has a major naval base in Sevastopol, leasing the land since losing the territory when Ukraine became independent. Russia reportedly has about 25,000 troops in the port city.

According to the Telegraph, more Russians considered Crimea as a part of Russia than Chechnya.

Meanwhile, Time magazine’s correspondent in Sevastopol wrote the city has become a refuge of sorts for ousted Ukrainian government officials and police, who fled Kyiv on Friday.

With files from The Associated Press

© Shaw Media, 2014

Report an error

Comments