This week, our focus turns, once again, to Ukraine. Since the Euromaidan movement at the end of 2013, clashes between pro-Russian and anti-Russian groups have intensified throughout eastern Ukraine. The United Nations estimates that more than 400 people have been killed in eastern Ukraine since this April, and that more than 46,000 have fled their homes. Journalists have also been attacked. Vice News correspondent Simon Ostrovsky was detained by unknown militants in the city of Sloviansk, and others have faced intimidation, threats and other pressures for trying to do their jobs.
A worker checks wires at a gas pipe before a launching ceremony of the construction of South Stream pipeline in the Black Sea resort of Anapa, southern Russia, Friday, Dec. 7, 2012. After years of delays and negotiations, Russian gas company Gazprom on Friday formally started construction of its Europe-bound South Stream pipeline, key to its strategy of eliminating shipping risks by bypassing transit nations like Ukraine.
This week, we're looking at the increasingly complex state of energy politics in Eastern Europe. Conflicts between Russia, which supplies much of the region's natural gas, and its neighbors are escalating. The United States government has increased sanctions on the Russian energy sector in response to the country's actions in Crimea and the Ukraine. How have markets been reacting to this? What does it mean for the area's balance of power?
Demonstrators carry Russian flags in support of pro-Russian protesters in eastern Ukraine, in Simferopol, Crimea, Thursday, April 10, 2014. Demonstrators marched and held a rally in support of pro-Russian protesters occupying government buildings in the eastern Ukrainian cities of Donetsk and Luhansk. (AP Photo/Max Vetrov)
For over two months, demonstrators have gathered in Kiev’s central Independence Square to voice their frustration with the government. What began as a peaceful rally in support of Ukrainian integration into the EU intensified following a brutal police crackdown.