Use these five videos and accompanying Teacher’s Guides from PBS Newshour Extra to address the current political crisis in Ukraine. These news stories span from December 3, 2013, through March 10, 2014.
The current wave of protests in Ukraine began in late November 2013, after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, under pressure from Russia, rejected a deal that would have created closer ties with the European Union. Protests flared again in mid-February, spreading from the capital of Kiev to other regions and leading to violent clashes between police and demonstrators that resulted in the deaths of more than 80 people. The Ukrainian parliament responded by impeaching President Yanukovych on February 22, causing him to flee to Russia. Following Yanukovych's impeachment, which Russians and pro-Russian Ukrainians opposed, Russia sent troops to Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, which is geographically and culturally close to Russia. As of March 7, a newly appointed government in Crimea has proposed a March 16 referendum that would allow residents of Crimea to vote on whether to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, or stay in Ukraine with greater autonomy.
The Teacher's Guides below provide facts and links on Ukraine's background, including the longstanding tension between its ties with Russia and links to Western Europe, as well as discussion questions and writing prompts addressing this tension and the United States and NATO's response to the developing crisis.
Consider these news stories as informational "texts." If you view all five videos in a row, consider how news stories unfold over time. Does the spread of the crisis to the Crimea in February 2014 seem predictable or unpredictable given reporting from December and January? What do these news stories omit that would be useful for an in-depth understanding of these events?