A trade union building used as a makeshift headquarters and hospital for Ukrainian protests was burned last week as the crisis in Ukraine continues to escalate.

On February 28, armed men seized the regional government headquarters in the Crimean capitol of Simferopol. Oleksander Turchinov, Ukraine’s acting president, made appeals for calm and referred to the people that have seized the government headquarters as “criminals in military fatigues”.

Officials throughout Eastern Europe are expressing concerns of destabilization throughout the region. In response, Russia has placed its air force on combat alert. On Thursday, the Ukrainian parliament in Kiev agreed that the nation should be led by a coalition government and proposed the former economic minister, Arseny Yatsenyuk, for the position of prime minister.

Yatsenyuk is well –known in European business circles after serving as the first vice-president of the head of the National Bank of Ukraine under Serhly Tyhypko and later, after Tyhypko resignation, the head of the National Bank. He has also been a consistently conservative voice amongst the Ukraine’s nationalists, expressing some political isolationist views as well as opposition to same-sex marriages. In spite of his political nationalism, Yatsenyuk has expressed support for the European Union and proven himself friendly to global economic interests and liberalization receiving a prestigious award “for significant personal contribution to the integration of Ukraine into the World Trade Organization” in 2008.

Critics of Yatsenyuk accuse him of being too close to international financial groups and foreign corporations to truly reflect the interests of the people of the Crimea. In addition, Yatsenyuk’s so-called democratic revolution has welcomed a closer relationship with the European Union and has taken a firm position against Eurasian trade union expansion.

At present, international media sources are reporting that “armed men” have taken control of two airports in Crimea with each side, pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian forces, pointing fingers at the other. Comments on international news articles have also reported an international military presence. According to Alexey Yaroshevsky, a journalist inside one of the Crimean airports reported, “I’ve seen people at Kiev Maidan wearing US and UK military uniforms, didnt think it was invasion. The crimeans wear simple camo, not russian.”[1]

According to The Times of India, Yatsenyuk recently received a phone call of support from the U.S Vice-President, Joe Biden. Additionally, on February 28, 2014, U.S. President Barack Obama stated “the United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.” However, according to a United Nations spokesman, Churkin, Russian military within Crimea are in accord with the existing agreements with Ukraine.

RAF Staff