Ukraine is on fire. People are dying in the streets. Why? At the core, it’s a battle against Vladimir Putin.

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Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

Kiev is on fire as the battle between pro-Putin forces and anti-Putin rebels intensifies. Kiev is on fire as the battle between pro-Putin forces and anti-Putin rebels intensifies.

Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych (left) and Russian president Vladimir Putin. Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych (left) and Russian president Vladimir Putin.

>> Ukraine crisis: Police storm main Kiev ‘Maidan’ protest camp (latest coverage from BBC News)

(Washington, D.C.) — While Vladimir Putin stage-manages a dazzling Olympic extravaganza in Sochi, a deadly backlash against the Russian Czar has broken out in neighboring Ukraine.

Kiev is on fire. Dozens are dead. Hundreds are wounded. The country is on the verge of all-out civil war. And there appears to be no end in sight.

On one side is Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich and his pro-Putin government.

Last fall, Yanukovich abruptly rejected a trade agreement that would have strengthened ties between the former Soviet republic and the European Union. Instead, Yanukovich lurched in the other direction, choosing closer ties to the Kremlin, a decision sealed by a $15 billion package of loan guarantees and discounts on natural gas purchases that Putin offered…

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