As Ukraine Moves Toward Reform, Support From West Lacking

As Ukraine Moves Toward Reform, Support From West Lacking
Ukrainian protesters clash with police after a vote to give greater powers to the east, outside the Parliament, Kiev, Ukraine, Aug. 31, 2015 (AP photo by Efrem Lukatsky).

On Tuesday, Ukraine’s right-wing Radical Party announced that it was leaving the ruling coalition over a bill that would give more power to the country’s regions, including in eastern Ukraine, which is currently controlled by pro-Russian rebels. Russia insisted on the decentralization of power as a condition for the truce that was agreed upon in February between Ukrainian troops and separatist rebels, which has unraveled bit by bit.

The bill has sparked controversy across Ukraine and put President Petro Poroshenko in a tight spot. Russian-backed separatists say it does not give them sufficient sovereignty in the east, while nationalists claim it will undermine Ukraine’s independence.

The nationalist Svoboda party took to the streets of Kiev against the bill on Monday. The protests turned violent, as protesters armed with truncheons, pipes and sticks with nails faced off against police. Three National Guard officers were killed and 140 people hospitalized.

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