Here’s What You Need to Know About the Situation in Ukraine

The current situation in Ukraine is a bit complex, so here’s the bare basics you should know, because it is shaping up to be a pretty big deal.

Global tensions with Russia had stabilized a little, following the very tense standoff over the Syrian conflict, but things flared up again following the ouster of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s friend and former Ukranian President Viktor Yanukovych, at the hands of Ukraine’s furious protestors. The protests were largely owing to just how cozy Yanukovych had gotten with Putin, and Yanukovych’s decision to align more closely with Russia than with the rest of the European Union. While the Ukrainian protests were successful in ridding the country of Yanykovych, they left Ukraine’s boarders vulnerable. Putin seized on the opportunity, invading Crimea—an area with strong Russian ties—with no resistance or opposition, and took control of their government buildings.

This was a violation of international law, and President Barack Obama called on Russia to withdraw troops. Putin responded by sending in more, leaving Obama with the unenviable task of aligning a European coalition against a country responsible for a good deal of Europe’s energy sources. Secretary of State John Kerry has been sent to Kiev in an attempt to secure financial service from the West but, as of yet, Putin doesn’t look like he’s flinching, and has given no indication he’s content with just the Crimea region …

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