KIEV, UKRAINE - FEBRUARY 19: Anti-government protesters clash with police in Independence Square on February 19, 2014 in Kiev, Ukraine. Violent clashes erupted yesterday following renewed anti-government protests, with the death toll rising to 25. (Photo by Alexander Koerner/Getty Images)
Peaceful protests started in Kiev late November after President Viktor Yanukovych turned down a trade deal with the European Union. The protests became tense after escalating spats between riot police and far-right groups. There are several reasons why the protests turned violent so quickly. Geopolitical Influence: Tensions began when Yanukovych accepted a $15 billion loan from Russia and rejected a trade deal with the European Union. The move angered opposition leadership, who pushed for a closer alignment with Europe. Russia: The clashes became their worst on Monday when Russia announced it would renew financial support to Ukrane, making opposition leaders believe Yanukovych was shunning Europe against their wishes. Also, Ukrainian government delayed a session on constitutional reforms to limit presidential powers. Celebrities: The standoff between police and opposition groups has caught the attention of celebrities. “Nashville” star Hayden Panettiere and George Clooney have brought attention to the conflict by reaching out to protestors in the country. Click to read more about what caused the bloody clashes in Ukraine.