Ukraine: Voices from the Epicenter

After three months of generally peaceful protests in Kyiv’s Independence Square, Ukraine is in crisis. On February 22, Parliament voted to oust President Yanukovych and hold new elections. Yanukovych subsequently fled the country. The deep mistrust in government that originally ignited the protests was then fueled by pictures and video of Yanukovych’s lavish estate.  

The interim government faces immense challenges. In addition to the social and cultural fissures dividing the country and the disastrous economic situation, Russia now has de-facto control of Crimea.   

The International Renaissance Foundation, part of the Open Society family of foundations and active in the country since 1990, is vigorously monitoring events on the ground. The foundation and its partners were at the epicenter of these extraordinary events. The local foundation ensured that legal aid was made available throughout the crisis to civic activists, protesters, and journalists; supplied victims with medical care; while its human rights partners documented cases of torture, beatings, and police abuse.

The disinformation campaign waged by Russia has been extraordinary, with faux photos purporting to show hundreds of thousands of citizens in Ukraine fleeing to Russia. The local foundation is providing space and access to journalists to provide more objective coverage. Where feasible, the foundation is using video coverage to document the situation on the ground.  

Events are unfolding with such speed that it’s impossible to predict what will happen. What is certain, however, is that so much is at stake for the citizens of Ukraine. 

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Putin has been reported ordering RF troops to pull back from the Ukrainian border. The NY Times reports "'Protest tourists' from across the border are joining demonstrations by ethnic Russians in southern and eastern Ukraine." Is there any sense of the stability of Russia itself?

Let us pray for peace on earth. We must together demand a new peaceful world.

I protest Russian evasion on Ukraine including Crimea.
President Putin should let Ukrainian people alone.

Bismarck: Diplomacy without force is like music without
instruments.

It troubles me to hear people rule out military help for the new Ukrainian republic. Certainly, Putin did not rule it out. Absent troops, advisors and advanced weapons sent there would give Putin and the Russian citizenry something to think about., I believe.

The start of the cold war again...

The old playbook of Soviet times cannot go unchallenged. Putin's questioning the legitimacy of the transitional government in Kyiv falls apart. By placing Aksyonov to head the Crimean parliament who in the last election had only 3% of electoral vote does not represent Crimeans & furthermore is completely illegal no matter Russia's claims.

people everywhere need to see through their conditioning
and stop being pawns in the ambitions of politicians.

It seems that again no1 thinks about people and a poor 1 will again die for rotten politics. Putin is guilty like EU and USA who wants to get closer to Russia and take Ukraine resources . If there was some smart Ukraine politicians they will took what they can from Russia and from EU because of geostrategic positions... But smell of money is better then a love for they country.

In this era, NEWS and TRUTH are manufactured to serve the interest of the producer. Crimea represents culturally close inhabitants but that cannot establish Russia's domination. Sovereignty has been tarnished by Russians and Americans and Europeans have lost ground to advocate owing to their past and near present acts of hegemony.

I hope Ukraina can be Peacefull again

I think the citizens should suspend any threats they hold on president Yanukovych, this will allow him back to contain the situation. perpetual civil war in Ukrain are undermining the country. unless something is done Ukrain is headed to a ruin

When i hear about democratic and freedom of it i just laugh. There is no democracy and there was never nowhere. Don't be stupid, do not tease Russia, enough to stop us from developing. If your democratic world is rot, we're not guilty. Our people also want to live in good conditions, and you and your nonexistent democratic have over 100 years hindering us. Enough, it's our time now.

EU won't save you... Croatians also hoped it would, but it didn't...

Until the citzens understand that they are killing each other, there will be no peace whatever the magnitude of intervention from the international communuty. Ukraine should wake up to this fact.

It is about the people, the freedom, democracy, humanity ... !!! No neonazzis, no Russian fascists, no American "liberation army", no EU corrupted politics ... just freedom and peace for the people of Ukraine! From Athens - Greece ...

The war can not improve the conditions of life on the earth. We need the peace to go on to beat for the respect of the human rights in the world. A Russian intervention in Ukraine will be late us in the true democracy of which we all dreamed many years ago. Ukraine needs the peace.......

The things that you hear in radio or see in television are that Russia has invaded Ukraine.
That’s not quite accurate. Yes, Russia has sent their military to Crimea. This part used to belong to Russia, that’s why a lot of people their are from Russian origin and they also do speak Russian.
In Ukraine there are 3 groups of people at the moment.
First, there are those who want Ukraine to stay independent.
And then, there are those who want their country to belong to the EU, which is not a bad thing. The problem is, most of them are neo-nazis and fascists, they protest violently and they are a huge danger for the Russian-speaking population.
/from posters/ "Stop Ukrainian Nazism!" and "Нет фашизму!" (No fascism)
That’s the 3rd group, the pro-Russians. They want the Ukraine to belong to Russia.
These 3rd group has asked Russia for help since they were tortured by the violent protesters and they were scared, who wouldn’t ask for help?

As you can see, there is no war going on.
Please don’t only trust the media, it’s propaganda.
Russia doesn’t want war and nor does anyone in Ukraine.
/from posters/ "Россия спаси от войны!" - Russia save us from war!

Please please please, don’t be ignorant.
It may or may not be correct what Russia does but it’s also highly questionable if the media is reporting correctly.

What absolute rubbish! not 1 person in the Ukraine asked Putin for help, name them, they do not exist!! Putin decided to invade Ukrainian territory, fact! by your reasoning, it would be ok for present day Italians to claim back the Roman empire :-)) The only people talking about neo Nazis and Fascists is Russian TV! try watching CNN & BBC world news for a more balanced view, anyway, Putin denies that Russian troops have taken over part of the Ukraine, so who are these masked armed military looking gentlemen driving about in Russian military vehicles :-)

Not sure what Putin was meant to do – the EU have been trying to seduce Ukraine for years, knowing full well that the Black Sea is a strategic “necessity” for Russia. As with their economic policies, which also pose a threat to European peace, they have been playing a very risky political game – and now we will see whether the risk will pay off. This is not to say that I advocate a war of course, or even that I want Putin to succeed. Just a reflection that the EU will eventually reap what it has sewn. And that might not be good.

14 years ago, USA and NATO had been bombing Serbia until she was brought to her knees, just to ensure that a part of her, called Kosovo, would split.

14 years later, when Russia interferes in Ukraine which lies at her borders, in order to ensure that a part of her called Crimea splits, she violates the international law.

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