Daily Video

May 12, 2014

Ukrainian forces launch offensive against pro-Russian protesters in Eastern Ukraine


Russian President Vladimir Putin made his first trip to the Crimean port of Sevastopol since the region was annexed by Russia. At a “Victory Day” ceremony honoring Russia’s defeat of Nazi Germany in World War Two, Putin told thousands there that incorporating Crimea had made his country stronger.

Back in Eastern Ukraine, government forces launched an offensive against pro-Russian demonstrators who had occupied government buildings.

Ukrainian troops launched an assault on the occupied police station, firing rocket-propelled grenades in city center streets, and shooting where people were shopping only yesterday.

Ukraine says its military actions are legitimate, but many citizens say it’s nothing more than the action of a fascist regime supported by the West.

“We live here in our native land. Fascists are coming, occupying the place, and pushing us around,” said one woman.

In the regional capital, Donetsk, an armed people’s militia marched openly through the street with shotguns, Kalashnikovs and cobbled-together uniforms. The crowd greeted the opposition militia with cheers and flowers.

“Russia, Russia,” the crowd chanted, as a Victory Day speaker praised the defeat of fascism 69 years ago. For many in the crowd, eliminating perceived fascism remains a goal they have yet to achieve.

Warm up questions
  1. Where is Ukraine? Which country is immediately east of it?
  2. Does the U.S. have any national holidays to commemorate military victories? If so, what are they? How do we celebrate them?
Discussion questions
  1. Why would Ukrainian forces attack their own people? Were they justified in doing so? Explain your answer.
  2. What role has Russia played in the recent crisis in Ukraine?
  3. What is Victory Day? Why is it an important holiday for Russians?
Writing prompt

Imagine that you are part of the new Ukrainian government. Southern and eastern areas of the country have been demanding to become part of Russia through both voting and protesting. Would you fight to keep them as part of Ukraine or would you let them be annexed by Russia? You should briefly outline your arguments and support them with evidence from the video and text.

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