Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

A guide to the crisis in Ukraine

Deadly street battles between protesters and police in the Ukrainian capital have raised fears that the former Soviet nation, whose loyalties are split between Russia and the West, is in an uncontrollable spiral toward civil war.

Deep roots of history: Moscow sees Ukraine as the birthplace of Russian statehood and Russian Orthodox Christianity. Most of modern-day Ukraine came under the control of the Russian czars in the 1700s after being part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Ukraine remained under Moscow's control until the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

Ukraine's economy: The Ukrainian republic was the most important economic component of the former Soviet Union. Its diversified heavy industry supplied the equipment and raw materials to industrial and mining sites in other regions of the former USSR. Ukraine depends on imports to meet about three-fourths of its annual oil and natural gas requirements and 100% of its nuclear fuel needs. After a two-week dispute that saw gas supplies cutoff to Europe, Ukraine agreed to 10-year gas supply and transit contracts with Russia in January 2009.

East vs. west: About one-third of Ukraine's 46 million citizens, including President Viktor Yanukovych, speak Russian as their native language. The other two-thirds speak Ukrainian and identify more closely with western Europe. Yanukovych is widely despised in Ukraine's west, but has strong support in his native Russia-speaking east and south, where the majority of the population depends on trade with Russia and supports close ties with Moscow. The sharp divide between east and west has fueled fears of a messy breakup of the country.

Russia's role: Russian President Vladimir Putin sees close economic and political ties with Ukraine as essential for the success of his project to build an alliance of ex-Soviet neighbors. Russia has done its best to derail Ukraine's pact with the EU with a mixture of trade sanctions and promises. After Yanukovych spiked the deal, Moscow offered a $15 billion bailout to help Ukraine avoid an imminent default, but so far has only provided $3 billion, freezing further disbursements pending the outcome of the ongoing strife.

Associated Press, CIA World Factbook

A guide to the crisis in Ukraine 02/20/14 [Last modified: Thursday, February 20, 2014 10:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tiger Woods arrested on DUI charge in Florida

    Public Safety

    Tiger Woods has been arrested on a drunken driving charge in Palm Beach County, various media outlets are reporting.

    Tiger Woods, shown in this Feb. 2 file photo, has been arrested in Florida on a DUI charge. Wire photo

  2. Young male hospitalized after shooting in St. Petersburg

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — A juvenile male was injured Monday morning in a shooting in the 2300 block of 17th Ave S, police said.

    A juvenile was injured in a shooting Monday morning in the 2300 block of 17th Ave S in St. Petersburg. (Zachary Sampson, Tampa Bay Times)
  3. Big rents and changing tastes drive dives off St. Pete's 600 block

    Music & Concerts

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kendra Marolf was behind the lobby bar of the State Theatre, pouring vodka sodas for a weeknight crowd packed tight for Bishop Briggs, the latest alternative artist to sell out her club.

    Sam Picciano, 25, left, of Tampa and Molly Cord 24, Palm Harbor shop for record albums for a friend at Daddy Kool Records located on the 600 block of Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, Florida on Saturday, May 20, 2017. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
  4. How Hollywood is giving its biggest stars digital facelifts

    Business

    LOS ANGELES — Johnny Depp is 53 years old but he doesn't look a day over 26 in the new "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie — at least for a few moments. There was no plastic surgeon involved, heavy makeup or archival footage used to take the actor back to his boyish "Cry Baby" face, however. It's all …

    This combination of photos released by Disney, shows the character Jack Sparrow at two stages of his life in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales."  Johnny Depp, who portrays the character, is the latest mega-star to get the drastic de-aging treatment on screen
[Disney via Associated Press]
  5. Putin visits France, hopes to mend strained ties with West

    World

    VERSAILLES, France — On a visit likely to shape Russia-France ties for years, French President Emmanuel Macron hosted Russian President Vladimir Putin at the sumptuous Palace of Versailles on Monday for what the newly-elected French leader said would be "demanding" talks on Syria, the Ukrainian crisis and other …

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, is welcomed by French President Emmanuel Macron at the Palace of Versailles, near Paris, France, Monday. Monday's meeting comes in the wake of the Group of Seven's summit over the weekend where relations with Russia were part of the agenda, making Macron the first Western leader to speak to Putin after the talks. [AP photo]