Russia's Nord Stream pipeline bypasses Ukraine, which transports about 80 percent of Russian gas exports to Europe, and could give Moscow greater political leverage in dealing with Kiev.
Unkrainian President Viktor Yanukovych appears to have miscalculated the political consequences of bringing a corruption case against his rival, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
Ukraine's state language is Ukrainian. But 1 in 3 citizens of the former Soviet republic is a native Russian language speaker. The result is what locals call the 'Kiev compromise.'
Despite a dispute over fraud allegations in the wake of Sunday's presidential vote in Ukraine, pro-Russian candidate Viktor Yanukovich is set to become the next president in what will be a dramatic shift back to pro-Kremlin policies.
Ukrainians are hurting as gas prices soar, unemployment rises, and currency value plummets.
Aid and outreach initiatives have been stepped up. But full EU membership will be slow coming say Ukrainians.