Ukrainians see too many familiar faces in new government

KIEV -- Secretary of State John Kerry said late Wednesday it would be a grave mistake for Russia to send troops into neighboring Ukraine. Last weekend, the Ukrainian president was toppled by violent protests, and on Wednesday, Russia unexpectedly mobilized troops near the border in what it calls a training exercise.

Ukraine's opposition leaders chose Independence Square -- the center of the revolution -- to introduce the country's new government Wednesday -- to booing from some of the crowd. Parliament must ratify the new ministers Thursday, but for some, there were too many familiar faces on stage.

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Katerina, a 27-year-old teacher
CBS News
"People are angry, especially these days, people are very angry," Katerina, a 27-year-old teacher, told CBS News.

Ukraine's ousted president, Viktor Yanukovich, fled the capital five days ago, following a week of violence in which 80 protesters were killed. Now the country is trying to move forward.

But it won't be easy. Ukraine is almost bankrupt; it needs $35 billion over the next two years.

So far, Russia has refused to recognize the country's new leaders, and President Vladimir Putin's decision to put Russian troops on Ukraine's border has raised fears that Russia will try to intervene in Ukraine's politics.

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For some in the crowd, there are too many familiar faces in the new Ukrainian government
CBS News
In the Crimea region in the south of the country, also home to a large Russian naval base, clashes broke out. "Crimea is not Russia," one group chanted. At least one protester was killed.

Back in Independence Square, Katerina had a stark message for Putin.

"Leave Ukraine alone," she said. "Leave Ukraine. Leave our people to make our future. Don't disturb us anymore."

The value of Ukraine's currency has been dropping like a stone, and on Wednesday, it hit a 10-year low. It has decreased nearly 20 percent just in the last month alone. What this underscores is how serious this crisis is, and the new leaders who were up on stage Wednesday are going to face some tough choices. The economic reforms the country needs to survive are going to be very painful and very unpopular.

  • Clarissa Ward

    Foreign Correspondent, CBS News

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