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Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich (R) and newly appointed Defense Minister Dmytro Salamantin in Kiev on Feb. 9

Ukraine is undergoing a major domestic political shake-up as Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich reshuffles key political, economic and security figures and moves loyalists into important positions while attempting to balance the country's powerful oligarch class. This shift is significant because it affects several major ongoing and inter-related trends in Ukraine: natural gas negotiations with Russia, the country's wider economic situation and an attempted balance in foreign policy orientation between Russia and the West. These processes will only intensify as Yanukovich continues to try to consolidate his power base, especially with parliamentary elections scheduled later this year.