As the deadly clashes in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital continued late on Tuesday night, hundreds of thousands of people from around the globe have been following events live via a YouTube feed from the capital.
Watching the live YouTube video stream of the besieged protest camps in Kiev is in many ways reminiscent of Cairo during the height of the violence that toppled President Hosni Mubarak. The live video stream has been provided by a local website Espreso.tv. Underscoring the precarious nature of the White House’s position was Vice President Joe Biden’s phone call with Ukraine’s president, Viktor Yanukovych.
The White House is fully cognizant of the fact that for President Barack Obama to become more directly involved in negotiating a settlement this would upset Russian President Vladimir Putin and create further hostilities between the United States and Russia. The White House released the following statement of Joe Biden’s phone call with Yanukovych: “Vice President Biden called Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych today to express grave concern regarding the crisis on the streets of Kiev. He called on President Yanukovych to pull back government forces and to exercise maximum restraint.”
“The vice president further underscored the urgency of immediate dialogue with opposition leaders to address protesters’ legitimate grievances and to put forward serious proposals for political reform,” the White House emphasized. “The United States is committed to supporting efforts to promote a peaceful resolution to the crisis that reflects the will and aspirations of the Ukrainian people.”
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow gave an informative backgrounder of the events and the reasons for the recent unrest that have turned decidedly more violent and deadly.
Whether the Ukraine has reached a point of no return and the violence has permanently scarred the country remains to be seen. What is certain is that much like in Egypt, scars will take years to heal and unless both sides make concessions it is likely that any level of normalcy is unlikely to return in the weeks and months ahead. But however the history is written of Kiev’s unrest, Vladimir Putin’s Russia will likely be proclaimed the winner.