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A Ukrainian perspective on Russian conflict

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by Yuliana Motyl

Yuliana Motyl was born in Ukraine and moved to Toronto, Canada when she was nine years old. She is a senior BDIC major in marketing and stability and a member of the women’s tennis team. Here is her perspective on the current conflict involving Ukraine, Russia and Crimea.

Talking politics has never been my thing. As a native-Ukrainian, though, I feel it is my duty to report on my country’s battle for independence. In order to get a deeper insight of Ukraine’s current political standing, I called my parents for an insider’s report.

Disagreement between the people of Ukraine and their government began three months ago when former president, Viktor Yanukovich shut down a partnership proposed by the European Union that would benefit the country tremendously. This was done to draw Ukraine away from the European Union, and in turn, strengthen ties with Russia. The decision sparked outrage in native Ukrainians, which led to the congregation of “The Opposition,” backed by thousands of protesters assembling in central Kiev.

The months following Yanukovich’s decision were filled with police attacks on student protesters, beatings, the passing of anti-government laws, and the eventual February 20th bloodshed that left 77 dead and nearly 600 wounded. Since that tragic day of unidentified gunfire, the opposition has successfully forced Yanukovich to step down from his position as president and has initiated the formation of a new Ukrainian government. The former president has reportedly fled the country in an attempt to escape legal prosecutions imposed by the newly assembling government. The people of Ukraine want to see Yanukovick and others responsible for the unjust attack that took place on February 20th, prosecuted rightfully.

In asking about the situation in Crimea, my father could not give me a definite answer, explaining, “no one really knows what Putin is up to, other than Putin himself.”

Country leaders from around the world have placed immense pressure on the Russian president to withdraw his troops from Ukrainian soil; however, this has yet to take place.

It seems like things are finally starting to look up for Ukraine, but substantial improvements will inevitably take time. Hearing the excitement in my father’s voice when he remarks on the future of Ukraine makes me feel hopeful that a resolution between Russia and the Opposition is approaching, leaving me with an optimistic outlook on what is to come.


Yuliana Motyl can be reached at [email protected].


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The digital-first, student-run magazine of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Journalism Department
A Ukrainian perspective on Russian conflict