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Tension Escalates in Ukraine
May 08, 2014

After the death of 46 people in clashes in Odessa, pro-Russian militants storm the police headquarters in the city and release dozens of people. As violence around the country escalates, experts warn that there could be no going back to a peaceful coexistence despite the proposed presidential elections at the end of the month. The crisis in Ukraine has spread in many cities under rebel control in the south and the east of the country as violent clashes between supporters and opponents of the Ukrainian government have led people to be killed. The day put its stamp on Ukrainian history as the bloodiest day since the beginning of the crisis. It was expected that after the release of the seven European military observers captured by pro-Moscow rebels in eastern Ukraine after more than a week of captivity in the city of Slavyansk that ongoing tensions would ease.

Apart from Odessa, the clashes spread along the eastern region, resulting in more deaths. In the eastern city of Lugansk, pro-Russian groups attacked local government building and two officers were injured. After the clashes ended, there is increasing difficulty obtaining basic foodstuffs. In the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, pro-Russian demonstrators seized a government building, and they raised their own flag of the Donetsk People's Republic to the main government building. The creation of a sovereign people's republic of Kiev's rule was proclaimed on April 7 by pro-Russian separatist groups. Donetsk separatist groups stated that they will declare their independence on May 11. It is expected that after the independence of the city of Donetsk, many more eastern cities—Odessa, Lugansk and Slayvansk—would be heading to create their own sovereignty, thereby declaring their independence.

Two days after the violence, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said during his visit to Odessa. "Russia's aim was to repeat in Odessa what is happening in the east of the country." He accused the Russian government of helping militant groups to attack government buildings, leading the country to enter into a state of civil war. He said, Russian's support for militant separatist groups aims to destroy Ukraine government control over the turbulent region of the country while decreasing the impact of the EU and the U.S. in the region. The long-lasting problem between Russia and the U.S. over the crisis in Ukraine reflects that both countries want to make use of the ongoing situation in their favour. 

As the Ukrainian presidential election, which will take place on May 25, would prove to be a significant path in determining Ukraine's future, the results would determine which way Ukraine chooses: to continue with a pro-Western government or a Russia backed government.

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