Ukrainians have taken to the Kiev streets, protesting the government's sudden decision not to sign a free trade deal with the European Union. Over 100,000 opponents gathered last Sunday, waving the flags of opposition parties and the EU. These are the most significant protests since the 2004 Orange Revolution.
Protestors say President Viktor Yanukovych caved to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who threatened to restrict trade and cut off gas supplies if Ukraine joins the EU. Putin wants Ukraine to instead join the Russian-led "Customs Union," which includes Belarus and Kazakhstan.
Yanukovych was ousted as Prime Minister during the Orange Revolution, and returned as president in 2010. Opposition leaders at the most recent string of protests say they will attempt to impeach the president if he doesn't sign the EU trade pact Friday.
Earlier today, prime minister Azarov told reporters that Russia suggested Ukraine delay the EU treaty signing and instead enter three way talks between itself, Russia, and the EU, adding, "we absolutely do not want to be a battlefield between the EU and Russia. We want to have good relations with both the EU and Russia."
The region’s “chemical genies” of the early 20th century were heralded as reaching into the future to create a more abundant life for all. Instead, they deprived future generations of their health and well-being.