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Fast-changing political scene is Ukraine

By Zhu Honggen | China Daily | Updated: 2014-02-25 08:17

Ukraine's political scene has been in turmoil since last week, when riot police tried to clear Independence Square in Kiev of anti-government protesters. This resulted in multiple deaths. Although President Viktor Yanukovych agreed a compromise deal with the opposition leaders following the bloody clashes, the situation changed dramatically when dozens of MPs quit the ruling Party of Regions.

With a new speaker appointed, the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, quickly voted to strip Yanukovych of his presidential powers and restore the 2004 Constitution; and it ordered the release of Yulia Tymoshenko, the ousted prime minister, who was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment for abuse of power over a gas contract with Russia. Yanukovych appears to have left the capital and his whereabout is unknown.

The direct cause of the anti-government protests, whose scale matches those of the 2004 Orange Revolution, was Yanukovych's unexpected about-face on signing an association agreement with the European Union, which was viewed as a steppingstone toward Ukraine's integration into the EU. Protests sprang up in Kiev and other cities in the west and north of Ukraine demanding the ousting of Yanukovych. The protests evolved into a political crisis when the ruling party rushed through a package of laws on Jan 16, aimed at suppressing the protests on legal grounds.

Fast-changing political scene is Ukraine

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