The European Union has called an extraordinary meeting of the bloc’s 28 foreign ministers to discuss the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. Sanctions “against those responsible for violence and use of excessive force” are expected.
The protests have evolved into a full-blown crisis on the ground. What happens now is critical to the geopolitical struggle between Russia and the West.
The crisis began in late November when Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych snubbed a plan to sign an Association Agreement and trade pact with the EU after Russia persuaded the most populous former Soviet republic to stay in the Kremlin’s orbit.
Citizens subsequently flooded the streets and made Independence Square, aka Maidan, their base in central Kiev. The confrontations between the opposition and Yanukovych’s government have been escalating since.
From riot police using ancient military tactics to defend against attacks to streets engulfed in flames, the photos coming for the heart of the standoff are incredible.