The violent images emanating from Kiev this week have been nothing short of sad and stunning. It has resulted in the deaths of 77 people (13 of them Ukrainian riot police) and injured hundreds more.
Today, the EU brokered an agreement between the Ukrainian government and the opposition. The terms of the agreement call for the formation of a transitional government and presidential elections to be scheduled later this year. It also sets the stage for the release of opposition leader and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko from jail. Tymoshenko has been in prison since late 2011 on corruption charges (the veracity of which are dubious to say the least).
However, President (and Russian puppet) Viktor Yanukovych remains in power and this is a sticking point with the protesters who want him to resign immediately. After a coffin of one of the dead protesters was held aloft, another protester shouted, “My comrade was shot and our leaders shake the hand of a murderer. It’s a disgrace! If it is not announced by 10:00 tomorrow that Yanukovich is gone, we’re going to attack with weapons.”
The violent protests in Ukraine are far from over.
UPDATE: What an extraordinary couple of days!!! Yanukovych has fled Kiev, Tymoshenko has been released from jail and gave a rousing speech to protesters in Independence Square, her ally Oleksandr Turchinov has been given presidential powers by the Ukrainian parliament and elections have been set for May 25.
But nothing is set in stone. Of course, now that the Sochi Olympics have come to a close, how will Russia respond to these developments? Will Putin send tanks into Kiev?