Riot police take up position in Ukraine after weeks of protests

  • 9 December 2013
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Nel looks at the situation in the Ukraine

Riot police have taken up position in Ukraine's capital city, Kiev, after two weeks of protests and mass demonstrations against the government

The country is divided between people who want Ukraine to have closer ties with Europe and those who want it to stay close to Russia.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters, who want the president to resign, have camped out in the central square in Kiev, despite freezing weather conditions.

Split opinion

They're angry because the government decided not to sign a deal with the European Union, which would give Ukraine closer ties with Europe, something they believe would give Ukrainians a better life.

But President Viktor Yanukovych, and many other Ukranians, want to remain close to Russia, and think signing an EU deal would put this at risk.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Protestors in capital city Kiev

History between the nations

Ukraine used to be part of the Soviet Union, a group of states ruled from Moscow, in Russia.

But in 1991 the Soviet Union broke up and Ukraine became a country in its own right.

Since then there has been a tug of war over how the country should be governed.

On Sunday, protesters pulled down a statue of Russian revolutionary and former Soviet leader, Vladimir Lenin in the biggest protests seen so far.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption This statue of Russian revolutionary leader, Lenin, was knocked over by protestors

Protesters are now occupying key government buildings.

President Yanukovych has agreed to meet former presidents tomorrow to try and find an agreement that will bring an end to the tense situation.