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Scenes From the Cyprus Crisis

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Scenes from the Cyprus Crisis

In the long night between March 15-16, Cyprus' finance minister accepted a bailout deal for his heavily indebted country that dragged the euro zone back into crisis mode, fast.

The agreement, which would punish bank depositors rather than taxpayers, was unprecedented and sent shockwaves through financial markets. Savers felt betrayed—even deposits under 20,000 euros were subject to the levy under the initial agreement—and the deal was swiftly rejected by parliament.

With the country's debt piling up and default looming, Finance Minister Michael Sarris turned to Russia for help. Russia has a vested interest in helping the country. Many Russian businesses that have registered in the country have profited from Cyprus' lenient tax laws.

The European Central Bank has added to pressure by saying it will not extend emergency liquidity funding to Cypriot banks beyond Monday.

The clock is ticking, and the prospect of the country exiting the euro zone, or defaulting on its debt, is looming ever larger. Click ahead to see how the crisis unfolded.

Posted 21 March 2013

Patrick Baz | AFP | Getty Images