The instability in Ukraine has the world watching and waiting. Following Crimea’s return to the Russian fold, separatists in the rest of the country are demanding the same for the rest of Ukraine. The west-leaning government in Kiev says the separatists are Russian proxy agents. Russian troops are near the border, and civil war is threatened.
The government of Ukraine, independent since 1991, finds itself in a position of unprecedented vulnerability. Internal disagreement over economic policy toward the European Union sparked larger discussions of identity and alignment throughout Ukraine. A pro-European movement ended up toppling the government, and deposed President Yanukovych fled the country on Feb. 22.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, wants to offer the Republic of Georgia a "memorandum of understanding" to join NATO. While that wouldn't constitute full membership, Durbin says it could serve as a way to build up that country's military.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene.
Just before residents of Crimea voted to break away from Ukraine and join Russia, a group of U.S. senators visited Kiev. They were showing support for Ukraine's new government, and also offering U.S. help. Among them was Illinois Democrat Richard Durbin. We reached him by phone in Chicago, and asked if the U.S. and Europe have to accept that Crimea is now part of Russia.
Every week, St. Louis Public Radio's Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum talk about the week’s politics.
We’ve broken another barrier on the show: U.S. Rep. John Shimkus is the first political figure from Illinois to be a guest on the podcast. The Collinsville Republican has represented large areas of southern Illinois since 1997 and plays a major role on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.