Divided Country: Ukrainians Count the Cost of Change


KIEV, Ukraine -- President Viktor Yanukovych, facing an arrest warrant, is still on the run as the country prepares for elections to replace him.

Meanwhile, for many anti-government protesters in Ukraine, like Yevgeniy Sikunov, the future remains uncertain.

CBN News first met Sikunov, 57, three weeks ago on what was then the frontline of the battle for Ukraine.

Sikunov and a band of brothers from across the country took up positions on a barricade in the heart of the capital city, staring down at hundreds of police officers.

"I want the president and his entire corrupt and oppressive government gone," he told CBN News at the time. "I'm here to fight against the evils of my government."

The mansion of President Yanukovych, who was impeached, was opened to the public this past weekend. CBN News got a guided tour of his lavish lifestyle.

View more inside images on George Thomas's Facebook page, Inside a Tyrant's Crib.

Three weeks later, Sikunov is still in Kiev.

"This is where we were fighting," he said. "There was a huge fire. This area was full of burning tires and I was standing here and watching that side."

Since then the political world around him has changed dramatically.

"Of course I knew this day would come," Sikunov continued. "I was sure that good would overcome evil because good always wins."

Days after he and thousands of Ukrainians helped remove Yanukovych from power, they've become national heroes to many of their countrymen.

Standing together on Hrushevskoko Street, with Sikunov on the far left, the crowd applauded them.

"I don't see myself as a hero," Sikunov told CBN News. "I would have rather died than see all those who were killed. I saw a boy who was killed right here."

Thousands of people waited patiently in line this week, standing where Ukrainian forces once stood, eventually crossing the so-called no-man's land into anti-government territory.

Today the area is a memorial, a monument of sorts, to the tragedies that took place. Throughout the day, ordinary citizens lined up by the hundreds to pay their respects to those who died here and in some ways, to walk around and imagine what it must have been like then.

When one of Sikunov's brothers stood to sing a song about love of country, there wasn't a dry eye in the crowd.

Meanwhile, many say it is hard to predict which direction the country will go.

There's talk of splitting Ukraine in two as supporters and opponents of Yanukovych clash with growing frequency.

"It is not time for me to go home yet," Sikunov told CBN News. "There are many forces around us trying to dismantle what we fought for. I still have to stay at my post."

News Articles