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Confused About What’s Going On In Ukraine? Some Resources And Reads To Get You Up To Speed
March 3, 2014
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Ukraine Ambassador to the UNited Nations Yuriy Sergeyev during a Security Council meeting on March 3, 2014. (Photo: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Over the weekend, Russia made headlines when it sent thousands of troops (the exact number is disputed) into Crimea, the peninsula on the northern coast of the Black Sea that's been part of Ukraine since 1954. The international reaction was swift. In the House of Commons this afternoon, Conservative MP Ted Opitz introduced a motion, jointly supported by Liberal House leader Ralph Goodale and NDP MP Peggy Nash, condemning Russia's actions in Ukraine and supporting the government's decision to recall Canada's ambassador in Russia. And the U.S. State Department warned Russia against any escalation in the region, without spelling out what potential consequences may be.

The situation in Ukraine has been rapidly evolving since November, when President Viktor Yanukovych opted not to sign a popular economic co-operation deal with the European Union in favour of strengthening ties with Russia, prompting wide-scale pro-European protests in the capital Kyiv. In late February, a majority of members of parliament declared that Yanukovych was unable to fulfill his duties, and he soon left the capital for Russia.

If all of this has you a little confused, we've compiled a few reads and resources to help you get your head around the latest developments and the larger context:

  • CBC News has an interactive fact sheet laying out the major developments, the global response and the major players in the conflict.
  • On Slate, there's a helpful list of Frequently Asked Questions (and answers, of course) that offer a great primer on the conflict for those who haven't been keeping up with the daily news.
  • In Newsweek, Owen Matthews argues that "Vladimir Putin’s Crimean gambit could prove to be a fatal mistake, one that may well cost Russia the peace, economic and political stability that stand as chief monument to Putin's decade and a half in power."
  • Maclean's correspondent Michael Petrou has been reporting on the situation in Kyiv, and offers a good overview of how the street protests led to the ouster of Yanukovich.
  • In the New York Times on February 20, former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi wrote a smart analysis of how Ukraine could come of of this conflict relatively unscathed. While violence has escalated in the days since it went to print, it's still a good read.
  • Also in the New York Times, this series of maps gives a good sense of the political divide in the country, and shows the network of the pipelines that bring Russian gas through Ukraine to Europe.
  • Ben Judah, writing in Politico, offers an interesting analysis of Russia's decision to enter the conflict — and why that's an affront to the West.
  • New Yorker editor David Remnick wrote a post on the magazine's website discussing Putin's motivations and analyzing the geopolitics of the situation.
  • The Telegraph is covering the ongoing crisis live, with regular updates as they happen. It's a great source for breaking news.
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