Hours after a truce was declared between Ukrainian government forces and opposition protesters on Wednesday, fighting broke out once again this morning in the streets around Kiev’s Independence Square. According to the latest news reports, at least 50 people have been killed and hundreds injured since the protests ignited Tuesday, the result of opposition lawmakers failing to push through constitutional changes that would have limited Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s powers.
Thousands of demonstrators have packed Independence Square since November when Yanukovych reversed a decision to sign a trade deal with the European Union and instead turned toward Russia. Many in the opposition have called for Yanukovych’s ouster and new elections that would give more power to parliament.
University of Virginia faculty member Yuri Urbanovich can comment on the situation.
• Yuri Urbanovich
Lecturer, School of Continuing & Professional Studies, College of Arts & Sciences’s Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics and Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (preferred)
An expert in the post-Soviet region, specifically identity-driven conflicts in the Caucasus, Urbanovich said the situation in Ukraine is “extremely dangerous for the integrity of Ukraine and stability of the whole region.”
“De facto, the disintegration mechanism in Ukraine has already been activated. The ongoing situation is the fault of President Victor Yanukovych and his government, as well as of the extremists,” he said.
“Under the circumstances, however, only active cooperation of the West (first of all, the U.S. and Germany) and Russia might prevent the worst-case scenario in Ukraine – the civil war.
“In my opinion, ‘Finlandization’ [the process by which one powerful country strongly influences the policies of a smaller neighboring country] of Ukraine might be a good option, so far. Although, in a long run, I have no doubts that Ukraine (and Russia, too) will be integrated with European institutions.”
• “The Ukrainian Crisis: Causes and Solutions”
REPORTERS are also invited to attend a U.Va. panel discussion Friday at 3 p.m. on “The Ukrainian Crisis: Causes and Solutions,” to be held in the McIntire School of Commerce’s Rouss-Robertson Hall, room 120. The event has been organized by U.Va.’s Slavic Student Association, along with the Global Markets Group and the American Enterprise Institute.
Scheduled presenters include Leon Aron, resident scholar and director of Russian studies at the American Enterprise Institute; James Greene, senior adviser for U.S.-Ukraine Business Council, president at Effective Engagement Strategies; and U.Va. students Roman Gryniv and Mateo Diachok.
U.Va. student Gabriel Noronha will moderate the discussion, and U.Va. professor Yuri Urbanovich will provide a brief introductory overview of the crisis and its causes.