2014 Ukrainian revolution

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For the general protests, see Euromaidan. For the general timeline, see Timeline of the Euromaidan.
2014 Ukrainian Revolution
Part of the Euromaidan
2014-02-21 11-04 Euromaidan in Kiev.jpg
Crowd in Kiev on 21 February after peace agreement was signed
Date 18–23 February 2014 (5 days)[1][2][3]
Location Mariinsky Park and Instytutska Street, Maidan Nezalezhnosti, Kiev, Ukraine
50°27′0″N 30°31′27″E / 50.45000°N 30.52417°E / 50.45000; 30.52417
Causes
  • Procrastination on restoring the 2004 amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine
  • Complete pardoning of arrested protesters instead of amnesty
Goals
Methods
Result
Parties to the civil conflict
Lead figures
Number
20,000–100,000+ protesters
7,000+ government forces[11]
Casualties
Deaths: 100[12]
Missing:166[13]
Injured: 1,100+[14][15]
Arrested: 77[16]
Deaths: 13[17]
Injured: 272[15]
Captured: 67[18]

Deaths: 106
Injuries: 1811
Ministry of Healthcare totals (16 April @6:00 LST)[19]

Dead & missing during entire conflict: 780
Medical volunteer estimates[20]

The Ukrainian revolution of February 2014 (known as the Euromaidan Revolution or Revolution of Dignity)[21][22][23] took place after a series of violent events towards protesters in the capital of Kiev that culminated with the flight and subsequent impeachment of the then-President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych.[24][25][26][27] This was immediately followed by a series of changes in quick succession in Ukraine's sociopolitical system, including the formation of a new interim government, the restoration of the previous constitution, and the call to hold impromptu presidential elections within months.[24]

After a first revolution, namely the "Orange Revolution" in 2004, Ukraine had been mired by years of corruption, mismanagement, lack of economic growth, currency devaluation, and an inability to secure funding from public markets.[28][29] Because of this, Yanukovych sought to establish closer relations with the European Union (EU) and Russia in order to attract the capital necessary to maintain Ukraine's standard of living without affecting the local population significantly.[30] One of these measures was an association agreement with the European Union which would provide Ukraine with funds contingent to several reforms in almost all aspects of Ukrainian society.[31][32] Yanukovych, at first, accepted the contingencies as fair but ultimately refused to sign the agreement.[33] Thereafter, Yanukovych signed a treaty and multi-billion dollar loan with Russia instead, which sparked civil unrest in Kiev that ultimately led to violent clashes as law enforcement troops cracked down on protesters.[34] As tensions rose, Yanukovych fled the country to Russia and has not returned. Russia has accused the United States and the EU of funding and directing the revolution.[35]

After the 2014 revolution, Russia refused to recognize the new interim government, calling the revolution a "coup d'état"[36] and invaded the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine.[37][38][39][40] Internally, the newly appointed interim government of Ukraine ended up signing the aforementioned association agreement with the EU and committed to adopt reforms in its judiciary and political system, as well as in its financial and economic policies, in order to comply with the provisions set in the agreement. The interim government also adopted other changes as it was unable to fulfill several contractual agreements after the revolution but needed foreign investments in order to do so. The foreign investments came from the International Monetary Fund in the form of loans amounting to more than $18 billion contingent upon Ukraine adopting reforms in almost all aspects of society,[41] including a raise in domestic gas-supply price to the global price.

The revolution was followed by protests in some south-eastern regions, a standoff with Russia regarding the annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, and eventual Russian invasion of Eastern Ukraine.

According to polling data by GfK taken from 4 to 18 March in all regions of Ukraine (including Crimea), 48% of Ukrainians support the change in power while 34% oppose it. In the Eastern and Southern regions the revolution is supported by only 20% of the population, whereas 57% or more of the population in the rest of the country supports the change in government. Also, only 2% of those polled said they fully or partially trusted former president Viktor Yanukovych.[42]

Overview[edit]

A period of relative calm in the anti-government demonstrations ended abruptly on 18 February 2014, when protesters and police clashed. At least 82 people were killed over the following few days, including 13 policemen; more than 1,100 people were injured.[43]

Crowds of protesters gathering at a mass rally on Independence Square in Kiev on 2 February
A line of riot police in Kiev on 12 February.
Burning of the Euromaidan headquarters in the Trade Unions Building.

The initial riots began on 18 February 2014 when some 20,000 Euromaidan protesters in Kiev advanced on Ukraine's parliament in support of restoring the Constitution of Ukraine to its 2004 form, which had been repealed by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine shortly after Viktor Yanukovych was elected president in 2010. Police blocked their path. The confrontation turned violent; the BBC, citing correspondents, stated that both sides blamed the other.[44] Police fired guns, with both rubber bullets and, later, live ammunition (including automatic weapons and sniper rifles), while also using tear gas and flash grenades in an attempt to repel thousands of demonstrators, who fought back with crude weapons, firearms, and improvised explosives.[45] Protesters broke into the headquarters of the Party of Regions. There were no party members there at the time. Police stormed the main protest camp on Maidan Nezalezhnosti and overran parts of the square.[44] The Trade Unions Building, the Euromaidan headquarters, burned down. Political commentators suggested that Ukraine was on the brink of a civil war.[46] Some areas, including Lviv Oblast, declared themselves politically independent from the central government.[47]

On 19 February, the authorities instituted police checkpoints, restrictions on public transportation and school closures in Kiev, which media referred to as a de facto state of emergency.[48] One member of parliament said in an interview that a state of emergency was de facto implemented nationwide as transportation to the capital was paralyzed.[49]

On 20 February, Minister of Internal Affairs Vitaliy Zakharchenko announced he had signed a decree authorising the use of live ammunition against protesters.[50] Central Kiev saw the worst violence yet, and the death toll in 48 hours of clashes rose to at least 77.[51] In response, the next day Chairman of the Ukrainian parliament Volodymyr Rybak announced he had signed a parliamentary decree, condemning the use of force and urging all institutions (Ministry of Internal Affairs, Cabinet of Ministers, etc.) to cease immediately all military actions against protesters.[52] The Ukrainian parliament also suspended Zakharchenko from his duties.

On 21 February, President Yanukovych signed a compromise deal with opposition leaders which would implement constitutional changes to hand powers back to parliament and early elections, to be held by December.

Despite the agreement thousands still protested in central Kiev and took full control of Kiev's government district; they took over the parliament, the president's administration quarters, the cabinet, and the Interior Ministry.[53][54] On 21 February an impeachment bill was introduced in Ukrainian parliament,[55] but no details were provided and the Ukrainian parliament did not vote to impeach Yanukovich according to the legal procedure.[56] On 21 February Yanukovich left for Kharkiv to attend a summit of south-eastern regions, according to media reports.

On 22 February, Parliament voted to declare that the chair of the President is vacant due to the fact that Yanukovich left Ukraine and no longer exercises his duties. An editorial in Der Spiegel argued that the vote was unconstitutional.[57]

On 22 February, Parliament named its speaker Oleksandr Turchynov as interim president on 23 February.[1] A warrant for the arrest of Yanukovych was issued by the new government on 24 February.[58] During the next days in Crimea, Russian nationalist politicians and activists organised rallies and urged Russia to help defend Crimea from advancing "fascists" from the rest of Ukraine.[59]

On 22 February, the protesters were reported to be in control of Kiev and President Viktor Yanukovych was reported to have fled the capital for eastern Ukraine.[60][61] Euronews reported that Ukraine's government said it would help make a smooth handover of power to a new administration.[62] The Parliament, or Verkhovna Rada, voted 328–0 in favour of impeaching Yanukovych and scheduled new presidential elections for 25 May.[63] As of 23 February 2014, Yanukovych's whereabouts were unknown, with multiple conflicting reports of his recent movements.[24]

On 28 February, President Yanukovych attended a press-conference in southern Russia and answered questions from mostly Russian reporters. It was seen that he believed the early presidential elections to be held in late May to be illegal and he "would not be participating in them". He also said that while it could calm the situation, 21 February agreement was not agreed to by the opposition.[64]

On 1 March, Russia's parliament approved a request from President Vladimir Putin to deploy Russian troops in Ukraine.[65]

Background[edit]

Euromaidan pro-EU protesters in Kiev, December 2013

Protests originally erupted in November 2013 after President Viktor Yanukovych chose not to sign a political association and free trade agreement with the European Union at the summit of the Eastern Partnership at Vilnius, choosing closer ties with Russia instead. Prime Minister Mykola Azarov had asked for €20 billion (US$27 billion) in loans and aid[66] The EU was willing to offer €610 million ($838 million) in loans,[67] however Russia was willing to offer $15 billion in loans.[67] Russia also offered Ukraine cheaper gas prices.[67] In addition to the money, the EU required major changes to the regulations and laws in Ukraine. Russia, however, did not.[66] Russia also applied economic pressures on Ukraine and launched a propaganda campaign against the EU-Ukraine deal [68] Yanukovych is widely disliked in Ukraine's west, but had some support in his native Russian-speaking east, as well as the south. The rallies were initially peaceful but eventually became violent in January 2014 after parliament, dominated by Yanukovych's supporters, passed laws intended to repress the protest. Russia, hoping to build an alliance of ex-Soviet states, has made extensive efforts to derail Ukraine's pact with the European Union with a mixture of trade sanctions and promises. The European Union and the United States urged Yanukovych to negotiate a peaceful end to the conflict and said they would introduce sanctions against those responsible for the violence.[69]

In the lead up to the February riots, an amnesty agreement was made with protesters wherein they would be granted release from charges in exchange for active protesters leaving occupied buildings.[70] Protesters vacated all occupied Regional State Administration buildings, and activists in Kiev left the Hrushevskoho Street standoff; Kiev City Hall was also released back to government control on 16 February.[70] All protesters, previously jailed for taking part in protests were scheduled to be released after 17 February.[70]

On 14 February 2014 President Yanukovych had stated "I want to say that I was incited and I'm incited to use various methods and ways how to settle the situation, but I want to say I don't want to be at war. I don't want any decisions made using such a radical way".[71] President Yanukovych further called on all politicians to refrain from radicalism and understand that "there is a line that shouldn't be crossed and this line is law".[71]

Russian involvement[edit]

The fact that Yanukovych was perceived as trying to establish closer ties with Russia played a major role in the protests. Yanukovych accepted "bail-out" money, $2 billion out of a $15 billion package, from Russia and this was interpreted as a sign that he would seek close ties with Putin.[72] Russian authorities had been pressuring the Ukrainian administration to take decisive action to crush protests; and it has been noted that the assault on Euromaidan protesters by police was ordered hours after the $2 billion from Russia was transferred.[73][74] Several ministers from across Europe blamed Russia for exacerbating the violence.[75] During a 20 February interview, the retired[76] Colonel of the Main Intelligence Directorate of Russia (GRU) Aleksandr Musienko stated that the conflict could only be solved by means of force, and that Ukraine had proven it could not exist as an independent sovereign state.[76][77] According to government documents released by former deputy interior minister Hennadiy Moskal, Russian officials served as advisers in how to carry out the operations against protesters. Codenamed "Wave" and "Boomerang," the operations aimed to disperse crowds with the use of snipers and capture the protesters' headquarters in the House of Trade Unions; prior to police defections, the plans included the deployment of 22,000 combined security troops in the city.[78] According to the documents, the former first deputy of the Russian GRU stayed at the Kyiv Hotel and played a major role in the preparations, and was paid by the Security Services of Ukraine.[79] According to Reuters, the authenticity of the documents could not be confirmed.[80] Interior Minister Arseniy Avakov has stated that the conflict was provoked by a 'non-Ukrainian' third party, and that an investigation was ongoing.[81]

Following concessions on 21 February after a failed crackdown which left up to 100 killed, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev suggested Mr. Yanukovych needed to stop behaving like a "doormat," and that further loan tranches would be withheld. Russian political advisor Sergey Markov then ensured "Russia will do everything allowable by law to stop [the opposition] from coming to power."[82] On 24 February, following the events of the revolution, Russia's Foreign Ministry issued a statement urging Ukrainians to "crack down on the extremists who are trying to get established in power,"[83] and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev refused to recognise the provisional government as legitimate.[84]

During a press conference on 3 April 2014, Ukraine's new interior minister, chief prosecutor and top security chief implicated more than 30 Russian FSB agents in the crackdown on protesters, who in addition to taking part in the planning, had also flown in shipments of large quantities of explosives into an airport near Kiev. Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, the interim head of Ukraine's SBU state security agency, said the agents were stationed in Kiev during the entire Euromaidan protests, were provided with "state telecommunications" while residing at an SBU compound, and in regular contact with Ukrainian security officials. "We have substantiated grounds to consider that these very groups which were located at an SBU training ground took part in the planning and execution of activities of this so-called antiterrorist operation," said Nalyvaichenko. Investigators, he said, had established that Yanukovych's SBU chief Oleksandr Yakymenko, who later fled the country, had received reports from FSB agents while they were stationed in Ukraine, and that Yakymenko held several briefings with the agents. Russia's Federal Security Bureau rejected the comments as "groundless accusations" and otherwise refused to comment.[85]

Timeline[edit]

18 February[edit]

Initial clashes (Mariinsky and Lypky)[edit]

Protesters building a barricade
Trucks which had been carrying troops are burned on crossroads in Kiev city's center on 18 February
Protesters throwing bricks and Molotov cocktails at police who are behind the burning barricade

The night before the clashes, Right Sector issued an announcement, calling for all members to ready themselves for a "peace offensive" on 18 February. The Maidan People's Union also called on all concerned citizens to take place in the "peace offensive," of which student unions had committed to joining as well. The Maidan Union reported on 18 February at 08:00 that columns of protesters would be formed to march on parliament, with the march beginning at 08:30.[86]

On the morning of 18 February, around 20,000 demonstrators marched on the Verkhovna Rada,[72] as Parliament was set to meet and consider opposition demands for a new constitution and change in government. Around 09:45 in the morning the marching column of demonstrators broke through the police barricade of several personnel-transport trucks near the building of Central Officer's Club of Ukraine (intersection of Hrushevskoho and Kriposny).[87] The demonstrators broke through the barricade and pushed the cordon of police aside.[88] The clashes started after some two dozen demonstrators moved a police vehicle blocking their path to parliament.[45] At 10:00 Batkivshchyna MP Lesya Orobets reported that police armed with Fort-500T shotguns started to attack with flash and stun grenades from Shovkovychna Street and Lypska Street.[87]

As the column neared the Verkhovna Rada building, at 10:08 it met resistance from another cordon of police and started to press against it.[87] There were reports that the number of protesters swelled to 50,000.[87] At 10:18 other reports stated that on Instytutska Street, explosions and smoke were seen, while people started to tear up roadway paving blocks.[87] At 10:21 protesters started to throw the pavement blocks at police, while police defending with shields tried to subdue the crowd with stun grenades.[87] At 10:22 the protesters who had barricaded themselves near the Dynamo Stadium colonnade began setting fire to tires.[87] At 10:28 there were reports that buses had been unloading people guarded by police on the other side of Mariinsky Park on the Parkova doroha since 8 o'clock in the morning.[87] About at 10:30 the parliament was set to vote for changes to the Constitution of Ukraine.[87] Once parliament convened, the bill to restore the 2004 constitution was not registered by speaker Rybak, although he was legally obligated to do so.[45] Oleksandr Doniy, an independent lawmaker, said that "They handed out the agenda (for today's session) as if there is no crisis in the country. All the issues on it are secondary," while opposition leader Vitali Klitschko accused the president of coercing members of parliament and orchestrating the situation.[45] Around that time MP Volodymyr Ariev reported that police were shooting at the opposition female MPs.[87]

Conflict on Maidan at night

At 10:33 the street fights between protesters and police shifted to Shovkovychna Street throwing paving stones and grenades at each other.[87] At 10:35 protesters started to wave 200 hryvnia banknotes in the face of titushky located in the Mariinsky Park.[87] At 10:43 public activist Oleksandr Aronets reported that snipers were targeting civilians and he stated that he had witnessed a man falling to the ground next to him.[87] There are photos of titushky using police equipment.[87] At 10:52 a column of siloviks started from the parliament building towards Shovkovnycha Street.[87] On the corner of Shovkovnycha and Instytutska, groups of titushky were noticed along with police officers.[87]

By 11:00, protesters who had sustained serious wounds were seen.[87] At the intersection of Shovkovychna St., two women were injured by rubber bullets fired by police: one in the heart, one in the face.[89] At 11:02 a fight broke out in Mariinsky Park between Anti-maidan and Euromaidan protesters, while police threw Molotov cocktails.[87] At 11:05 Lesya Orobets reported that Berkut were carrying firearms.[87] On Shovkovnycha Street a barricade of dump trucks was set on fire.[87] At 11:09 a fire engine arrived on Shovkovnycha as the street was filled with thick black smoke.[87] At 11:10 police started to use shotguns and throw grenades from rooftops into crowds.[87] Journalist Yanina Sokolovska (Izvestia in Ukraine) claimed that when people in camouflage were throwing grenades in crowd, protesters thought that those people were Berkut.[90] At 11:18 the Soviet song The Sacred War started to play from the scene of Party of Regions in Mariinsky Park.[91]

Barricade burning outside the Headquarters of the Internal Defence forces in Lviv, caused by mass protests

Raid on Party of Regions office and police retaliation[edit]

At 11:23 there was an assault attempt from Berkut, but it was unsuccessful as the crowd attacked back.[87] At 11:25 there was the first report of protesters breaking doors to the headquarters of Party of Regions on Lypska Street.[87] Berkut and protesters continued to exchange grenades and pavement blocks.[87] At 11:30am protesters, among which was journalist Tetyana Chornovol,[45] sacked and set ablaze the Party of Regions office.[92][93] At 11:40 Oleksandr Aronets was reporting that grenades used by police contained metal shrapnel.[87] At 12:05 a number of journalists were reporting that stun grenades thrown at the protesters outside the Verkhovna Rada building were tearing away limbs of the activists.[87] At 12:12 the Minister of Healthcare Raisa Bohatyriova was attacked by protesters while she was descending by stairs from Mariinsky Park to Parkova doroha, but got away unharmed.[87] By 12:30, police had regained control of the Party of Regions office.[45] The administration of emergencies confirmed one dead after the raid on the office.[92] At 12:24 titushky and police continued to attack protesters in Mariinsky Park.[87][94]

At 12:33 Andriy Illyenko reported the fact that the building of Central Officer's Club was redesignated into a temporary medical office.[87][95] At 12:48 Oleksandr Turchynov brought Novinsky to the office of Party of Regions.[87] At 13:00, a security of the office attacked a photographer of Radio Svoboda.[87] Later (14:25) people from the office severely beat up another photographer.[87][96] Police used both live and rubber ammunition while repelling protesters, with dozens injured by 13:00 at least two men were shot in the head with rubber bullets.[45] Thousands of police encircled the government district that includes the Presidential Administration, parliament and the Cabinet of Ministers, and then chased down protesters while banging their shields.[45] One protester with a head wound told the Kyiv Post that charging police officers "smashed everybody" in their advancing path, including women and girls. At 13:08 the coordinator of Euromaidan medical service reported about 25 wounded.[87] At 13:21 Radio Svoboda reported that Euromaidan medics provided medical help to one of Internal Troop soldier and prevented him from being beaten up by an angry mob.[87]

Barricade line separating interior troops and protesters

At about 13:00 protesters were breaking windows in one of the buildings of the Ministry of Healthcare in Mariinsky Park where a ministry PR office was located.[97]

By 13:30, police charged protesters on foot with shotguns and fired into the crowd, hitting one man in the eye; he was bleeding heavily and taken away by paramedics.[45] Protesters on Shovkovychyna Street pushed back hundreds of advancing police. Citizens set up barricades of benches and dumpsters to block the street. One officer was beaten unconscious by the crowd, while protesters themselves were seen bleeding with head wounds. Four officers on Institutska Street were stationed atop a building, lobbing stun grenades at the crowd while shooting at them from the vantage point; the building was then stormed by protesters and a part of it was set on fire. Protesters forced their way to the roof, forcing police to retreat.[45] The building on Institutska Street was described as the scene of the day's most violent clashes. At 13:30 Berkut and Internal Troops servicemen started their full scale assault along Instytutska Street firing directly into the crowd.[87] At 13:48 there were reports of police utilising water cannons to break through Shovkovnycha and Instytutska.[87] Police detained MP's assistants Nazar Naumenko and Volodymyr Nazarenko (both from the Svoboda party).[98] At 13:56 some Svobodan MPs attacked a police truck with arrested on Sadova Street.[87]

At 14:00 there were reports of sadistic police brutality.[87] At 14:11 some journalists reported that police beside rifles were also using handguns.[87] There were episodes of an angry mob going out of control when government official luxury cars were in sight.[87] At 14:30 Iryna Herashchenko was reporting that wounded were afraid of going to hospital as they could be arrested by police.[87] At 13:34 Berkut detained four protesters, severely beat them and took them into custody.[87] Some MP (Svoboda) succeeded in allowing one of the protesters to be hospitalised.[87] At 14:38 there was a fight near the building of the Supreme Court of Ukraine between titushky and Maidan self-defense forces, while witnesses were claiming that titushky had firearms.[87][99] Police used clubs, tear gas and flash grenades this morning in a bid to repel the march. Protesters responded with sticks, stones and some explosives while other groups of demonstrators were massed on Hrushevskoho Street.[45] At 14:56 there were reports of transportation disruption as ambulances were not able to reach wounded people on time, while Lesya Orobets reported about the first three people dead.[87]

Masked protester seen during clashes in Kyiv

By mid-afternoon, police using tear gas pushed back up to 10,000 protesters from Mariinsky Park, where barricades had been built earlier in the day. Pro-government demonstrators and "titushki"—or suspected hired government thugs—were also in the park.[citation needed] Demonstrators threw stun grenades at "titushki," filling the park with smoke. Other anti-government activists tried to keep the pro-government and anti-government forces apart.[45]

Multiple outlets reported that police were armed with AK-47 assault rifles, and published photographs.[100][101] Former Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Hennadiy Moskal speculated that the troops wielding AK-47's could be Alpha Group units.[102] Berkut veteran organization head Vladimir Krashevsky said that the armed police in black with yellow armbands were a unit of Berkut, and had been deployed to help evacuate the interior troops. He corrected the earlier name of "Berkut black company" and said their official name was "Special Company of the Special Police Regiment Berkut in the City of Kiev".[8]

Protesters re-occupied Kiev city hall.[103]

According to the Russian state-owned newspaper Izvestia, opposition activists armed with bats and iron rods allegedly beat to death computer engineer Valery Konstantinovich Zakharov in the raid on the Party of Regions office.[104]

Advance towards Maidan[edit]

Clashes between protesters and internal troops

At 15:45., hundreds of riot police advanced on Shovkovychna Street towards Ukraine's parliament, attacking protesters. Riot police and government supporters cornered a group of Euromaidan protesters on Mariinsky Park. The pro-government (titushky) supporters then captured and detained Euromaidan activists.[105]

A police officer grabbed the gas mask of a Kyiv Post journalist on Institutska Street and said of the police advance, "I love it! We love it!".[45]

A riot police officer is thrown to the ground during clashes in Kiev

At 15:51 there were reports of attacks on journalists including a two men from 5 Kanal, a pair of journalists from the Televiziyna Sluzhba Novyn (TSN), and others.[106]

The acting chief of the Ukraine Security Services, Oleksandr Yakymenko, and acting Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko issued a public warning at 16:00 to protesters to clear the streets within two hours: "If by 18:00 the lawlessness doesn't cease, we shall be forced to used all legal means to bring order."[45] At the October Palace, visible from Independence Square, riot police threw bricks down the hill at protesters, including women, from a bridge along Institutska Street.[45]

According to media reports two jet aircraft appeared over Maidan.[107]

At 20:00 it was reported 50 unknown assailants were attempting to break into the Canadian Consulate.[108]

Attack on Мaidan[edit]

Following warning from the Interior Ministry for all women and children to leave Maidan, police advanced on thousands of protesters on Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) at 20.00[date missing] with guns, a water cannon and an armored personnel carrier. Tents housing protesters were burning on the main square.[45] Police justified their actions by stating they were conducting operations in an anti-terror campaign against "individuals who had clearly armed themselves".[109] 2 SpilnoTV media tents were set on fire as a result of the police attack on Maidan.[110] Hromadske TV reported earlier in the evening that that three armored vehicles were moved to Kiev streets at nightfall, including at least one that was stopped by demonstrators.[45] Opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk called on the police to retreat 200 meters further up Institutska Street and urged both sides to call a truce until morning.[15] Protesters on Maidan stacked tires and other burning debris to create a wall of fire between themselves and security forces.[15]

The TV channel 5 Kanal's broadcast was shut down countrywide.[15][111] It remained available through satellite (though with a brief interruption) and a live feed on YouTube.[15] It resumed service some hours later.

Trade Union building, used as Euromaidan headquarters, on fire following police raid.

At approximately 22:00, it was reported that police had broken through the protesters' barricades on the eastern side of the perimeter on Maidan. At 23:00 Globus and Trade Unions buildings were on fire. Activists fired two water cannons.[112] Police then attempted to retake the occupied Trade Unions building but failed.[15] At approximately 01:00, the building was occupied by police forces, and the 6th floor was set on fire.[15] The fire then spread to the 7th floor, with people trapped inside; firefighters then arrived to help.[15] Four protesters were killed by police when storming the building, as reported by journalist S. Tsegolko via Twitter.[113] National resistance staff later confirmed there were no deaths due to the fire, and the building was evacuated.[114]

Presidential adviser Hanna Herman stated that negotiations between the government and opposition would only happen once peace is restored and crowds taken off the streets, and that "calling further for armed conflict is a great crime against the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian state."[15] General Prosecutor of Ukraine Viktor Pshonka stated "Organisers of mass protests will be held accountable. We will demand the heaviest punishment both for those who revved people up to take part in today's action and for those who organised and controlled them".[109]

By 23:30, 20,000 remained on Maidan Nezalezhnosti.[15]

As of 21:30, law enforcement forces had managed to seize parts of Maidan.[115]

The Kyiv Post also reported that witnesses noted bands of titushky roaming the streets, armed with clubs, and that there were reports of shooting from the gangs.[15] The Kyiv Post later reported that Serhiy Morgunov, stated titushky, shot two men on Velyka Zhytomyrska Street, and that one of them died.[15] Titushky are identified by their white armbands to distinguish themselves from normal pedestrians.[15]

Police snipers began to shoot at opposition politicians standing on the stage on Maidan; Oleksandr Turchynov was apparently hit and injured.[116] He later reported that he believed he had been hit by shrapnel from police stun grenades.[117]

At 01:35, street lights were switched off around Maidan. The activists at Maidan believed this to hint at the beginning of a decisive assault.[118]

Opposition leaders meeting with President Yanukovych[edit]

An emergency meeting was announced for 23:00 between president Yanukovych and opposition leaders.[119][unreliable source?]

Emerging from a meeting with President Viktor Yanukovych, opposition leader Vitali Klitschko told Hromadske TV that the talks were not successful. Klitschko said that opposition leaders listened for more than an hour to Yanukovych's accusations that they were to blame for the 20 deaths on 18 Feb The president also demanded that the opposition force protesters leave Maidan Nezalezhnosti.[15] Yanukovych also reportedly threatened Yatsenyuk and other opposition leaders with criminal prosecution.[120]

In a message on Ukrainian television, President Yanukovych then addressed the opposition leaders "Separate yourself from the radical elements that seek bloodshed and conflict with law enforcement agencies," he said, warning that if they failed to do so, he would "talk differently" with them.[121] He added: "The opposition leaders have ignored the basic foundation of democracy, the line had been crossed when they called people to arms."[121]

The next day (20 February) these opposition parties (Batkivshchyna, UDAR and Svoboda) released this statement: "We never have and never will call people to arms. This is our principled position. The death of each person is a personal tragedy for each of us".[122] Later that day the same three opposition parties stated: "To hold talks with the regime, the policies of which led to the deaths of many people, is an extremely unpleasant thing but we must do everything possible and even the impossible to prevent further bloodshed".[123] The parties rejected dissolution of the protests (labelling it "counterproductive and unrealistic") and stated: "It was not we who brought Maidan together and it is not for us to disperse it! People will decide themselves what to do depending on when and how their demands are satisfied".[123]

19 February[edit]

Internal troops form a phalanx against protesters. Berkut policemen are standing behind.

The Kiev Metro was closed and main roads blocked by police.[124] Bigger stores and malls on Khreshchatyk were closed; but according to an Euronews correspondent "Life away from the barricades is business as usual".[125] Banks nearby the conflict zone suspended the work of offices again.[126]

In the early morning, titushky shot two protesters, killing one.[127] At 07:20, (Party of Regions politician) Andriy Portnov during his speech on situation in the country asked the protesters to give up.[128] By the 19th, the death toll had risen to 26 deaths on both sides.[129]

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) launched an "anti-terrorist" operation, while the intelligence services began investigating unnamed politicians over what was described as an illegal attempt to seize power.[124] The decision to commence the antiterrorist operations involved the Security Service of Ukraine, the Interior Ministry, Ministry of Defense, State Border Guard Service of Ukraine and central and local government, according to a statement published on the SBU website.[130] According to political analyst Taras Berezovets, the decree means that the SBU "can search, seize property, detain protesters at will, "without a court order or other legal safeguards, and can detain and interrogate anyone who they suspect of being terrorist. They can kidnap you from street and keep you in jail without notifying families for up to 72 hours."[130]

Euromaidan crowds on 19 February

In the early morning of 19 February, Olena Lukash announced that the opposition had refused to sign a declaration disapproving of radical measures. President Yanukovych demanded the opposition cease occupying buildings and seizing arms; the opposition, however, declined to concede.[131] The same day the acting Minister of Defense Pavlo Lebedyev acknowledged that he dispatched some Airborne Troops from Dnipropetrovsk to Kiev,[132] while the opposition MP Anatoliy Hrytsenko clarified the information stating that the 25th Separate Airborne Brigade was deployed.[133] Ciphered telegrams issued by the newly appointed chief of General Staff Yuriy Ilyin were discovered where Ilyin gives direct orders on deployment of military units.[134]

President Yanukovych declared Thursday 20 February a day of national mourning.[124]

A Euronews correspondent on Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) reported "Overall, more people are arriving at Independence Square. They are coming from all parts of Ukraine".[135] By 14:50, 5,000 remained on the square.[130] Right Sector occupied the Kiev Central Post Office and the State Committee for Television and Radio, with the former acting as a new headquarters of operations.[130][136]

Protesters burning tires near Kiev Conservatory to obscure visibility to snipers

President Yanukovich fired the Chief of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Volodymyr Zamana and replaced him with Yuriy Ilyin, who was previously the commander of the Ukrainian Navy.[137] The Ukrainian ministry of defence announced it was redeploying units around the country to guard military facilities.[137] The Director of the SBU Oleksandr Yakymenko stated that sites had been attacked in several regions, and included military bases and arms depots.[138]

Priests of St. Basil's Greek Catholic Church in Kiev stated they feared an attack by pro-government partisans ("titushki"), who were gathering nearby and called on anti-government protesters to help them rebuff a potential attack.[139]

The European Investment Bank froze activities in Ukraine,[140] stating "For the time being the situation is so cruel that it would be politically the wrong signal, but also irresponsible vis-a-vis the people we asked to do the job, to be active on business in Ukraine".[141]

Following a meeting between administration and opposition leaders late at night, both sides declared a truce and the start of negotiations.[130][142] President Yanukovych issued a statement that he had agreed to "start negotiations with the aim of ending bloodshed, and stabilising the situation in the state in the interests of social peace".[142] According to opposition politician Arseniy Yatsenyuk the truce included a pledge from President Yanukovych not to launch a police assault that night.[142] Right Sector did not agree to the truce.[143] A Euronews correspondent on Maidan Nezalezhnosti reported that in the evening of 19 February there were more people on Maidan Nezalezhnosti then the previous day; adding "In general, all I have heard from people is the more they are attacked and the worse they are beaten, the more determined they are to stand back up and resume the struggle".[144]

20 February[edit]

Police snipers

At 00:35 Interfax informed reported that President Yanukovych had declared 20 February a day of mourning for those killed in the clashes.[145]

Around 03:50 on the main stage, activists claimed that they had torn a shoulder patch from the uniform of a Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) soldier during the clashes, brandishing the patch as alleged proof of Russian involvement.[146] Around 04:15 at Maidan continued to be heard gunshots despite the agreed ceasefire.[147] Around 04:20 five buses carrying protesters from Ivano-Frankivsk arrived on Maidan.[148]

Around 07:00 a truck column with soldiers of the 25th Airborne Brigade had a road accident.[149] Based on the information from Anatoliy Hrytsenko the column was moving on Kyiv.[149] Officially, soldiers were returning to their base in Hvardiyske, Novomoskovsk Raion, after returning from a military exercise in Crimea.[149] The accident occurred a kilometer away from the town of Melioratyvne, Novomoskovsk Raion.[149] Three soldiers died and nine more were injured.[149] In the same town (Melioratyvne) at the railway station Orlivshchyna 40 people were blocking rail tracks to prevent deporting train with soldiers and military equipment of the 25th Airborne Brigade.[150]

Both sides blamed each other for igniting the deadly conflict on 20 February.[151] Former State Security Head of Ukraine Oleksandr Yakymenko blames Ukraine's current Euromaidan government, claiming they were responsible for hiring snipers on 20 Feb, providing a detailed account of events and obstruction of security intervention.[152] A statement from the Presidential Administration of Ukraine stated that the protesters went on the offensive: “They are working in organised groups. They are using firearms, including sniper rifles. They are shooting to kill,” it said.[153] Lately it was approved by video.[154] Protesters accuse police of starting the conflict by throwing Molotov cocktails and improvised explosive devices at them.[151] Opposition politician Vitali Klitschko issued a statement saying: “Armed thugs have been let loose in the streets to attack people and create an illusion that there is a confrontation between citizens”.[153] At 09:25 protesters pushed the Berkut back to the October Palace[155] after security forces attempted to set fire to Kiev Conservatory which was being used as a field hospital for wounded protesters.[156] At 09:32 it was announced that the parliament would not be convened.[155] At 09:39 Ukrayinska Pravda reporter Oskana Denysova reported that Berkut was moving from parliament towards Arsenalna, while soldiers of Internal Troops and titushky were left around the parliament as the personnel of parliament was being evacuated.[155] Law enforcement officers and titushky were both seen wearing yellow arm bands, allegedly for mutual identification.[157] Protesters claimed to have seen snipers on Instytutska Street opening fire on the most radical activists.[158] According to the medical staff in the makeshift hospital in Hotel Ukrayina snipers shot "directly at their heart, sometime through their back, sometime in front. And some of them were shot into coronary arteries".[159]

Masked protester with an air rifle

Euromaidan protesters marched on police with shields and molotov cocktails, and forced them to retreat, managing to seize back control of Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) and capture up to 67 police.[160][161] At around 10:30 the Maidan self-defense uncovered some snipers in the Hotel Ukrayina.[162] Later (10 April 2014) the parliamentary temporary investigative committee on events at Maidan confirmed existence of snipers which were located at the Government building (Budynok Uryadu).[163] Around 10:49 law enforcement personnel were captured while sleeping in the Ukrainian House and during clashes on barricades near the October Palace.[160] Many of the men were only 18 or 19-year-old, were not trained and were armed only with rubber truncheons, and those with minor injuries were treated by medics.[160] The captured police were from Crimea, the central eastern cities Dnipropetrovsk and Kryvyi Rih and eastern Luhansk.[151] Interior Troops soldiers, of whom almost 100 surrendered during the clashes (mostly conscripts aged 19–20[164]),[165] were held prisoner at the headquarters of the Energy Company of Ukraine and at the October Palace.[160] At 10:00 between 10,000 and 20,000 demonstrators remained according to Kyiv Post.[160] According to an UNIAN correspondent there were more than 30 thousand people on Maidan Nezalezhnosti.[166] At 10:55 the chief of Presidential Administration Andriy Klyuev announced that the president is ready to sign a constitutional treaty with opposition to discuss the requested changes to the Constitution of Ukraine and that the ongoing events in Kiev must sober up some politicians to find quick consensus.[167]

Trains between Kiev and Lviv, one of the protesters' strongholds, were temporary suspended, a railway spokeswoman stating that this was because of damage to the lines.[168] Because of repair works trains going to Kiev would arrive with a delay of up to ten hours; trains leaving Kiev ran according to schedule.[169] Coincidentally there were reports that arms were seized from an Interior Ministry armory in Lviv and transported to the outskirts of Kiev.[170]

Head of the Kiev City State Administration Volodymyr Makeyenko resigned from the Party of Regions but stated he would continue to fulfill his function to ensure the city functioned properly.[153] He then ordered the reopening of the Kiev Metro.[153] By 15:00 the Kiev Metro was not yet working and ground-based transport in the city was rare.[171] The metro was partly reopened in the early evening while interchange stations remained closed.[172]

The Embassy of the United Kingdom in the city was temporarily closed due to ongoing situation in the country.[173]

Radio Liberty published video footage of police special forces shooting protesters with Kalashnikov and sniper rifles.[174] Acting Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko announced that combat weapons had been provided to police, stating, "We signed relevant orders as part of the Antiterrorist Center's work: the law enforcement officials have been provided with combat weapons, and they will be used in line with the law on police," Zakharchenko said in an address to the nation."[175] His ministry's website said riot police had the right to use their weapons to free hostages being held by protesters.[176] The ministry further stated a sniper had injured 20 of its police officers.[176]

In Donetsk, public service announcement billboards were erected, showing Berkut juxtaposed with images of children, promoting the Berkut as defenders of peace.[177]

Interfax-Ukraine reported that at 15:00 "a group of unknown individuals" headed to the Presidential Administration Building.[178] "Shots and explosions can be heard", according to the Interfax-Ukraine correspondent.[178] The Euromaidan self-defense force had repeatedly called from the stage on Maidan Nezalezhnosti not to go outside the Square perimeter.[178]

According to some sources, a footballer of FC Dynamo Kyiv Vladyslav Kalitvintsev was attacked by titushky and had his jaw broken.[179] Kalitivintsev was not on the roster for the game with Valencia and stayed in Kiev.[179]

Diplomatic efforts[edit]

The above-mentioned clashes erupted shortly before the three visiting EU foreign ministers, Radosław Sikorski of Poland, Laurent Fabius of France and Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany, who were due to meet President Yanukovych to push for a compromise with the Ukrainian opposition.[180][181] The meeting was delayed for security reasons and began an hour late.[180] Before the meeting Fabius said in an interview with BFM TV "Our purpose is to cause the Ukrainian administration to conduct elections. There is no solution other than elections".[182] The negotiations of 20 February lasted for six hours.[183] Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk told reporters soon afterwards: "it was agreed with Yanukovych that there was a willingness to hold early elections this year, both presidential and parliamentary." Tusk also said that Yanukovych "was willing to form a national unity government in the next 10 days and to change the constitution before the summer." Further talks were scheduled in order to negotiate signing of the relevant document.[184][185]

The United States imposed visa bans on 20 Ukrainian government officials it considered "responsible for ordering human rights abuses related to political oppression".[180]

After a telephone conversation between Russian president Vladimir Putin and Yanukovych, Russian human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin was sent as an envoy to Ukraine to try to mediate talks between the government and opposition at the request of President Yanukovych.[180]

The European Union on 20 February introduced a visa ban and a financial asset freeze against those responsible for the application of violence in Ukraine, and a ban on export to Ukraine of equipment that may be used for repression.[clarification needed][186][187][188] "The scale of implementation will be taken forward in the light of developments in Ukraine," read the EU Council conclusions.[189]

Ukrainian political developments[edit]

Leader of the Party of Regions, Oleksandr Yefremov, travelled to Luhansk to meet with local leaders and law enforcement agents to discuss the possibility of the south-east of Ukraine declaring independence, and seceding from the state.[190][nb 1] The chairman of the Supreme Council of Crimea Vladimir Konstantinov traveled to Moscow where he announced that the Autonomous Republic of Crimea will secede from Ukraine if there would change of power.[193][194]

Party of Regions MP Sergiy Tigipko called for the resignation of Parliament Speaker Volodymyr Rybak (to be replaced by an opposition parliamentarian) and the urgent election of a prime minister supported by all factions. According to Tigipko "The president, the parliament speaker, the acting prime minister and opposition leaders have completely lost control of the situation in the country and do not offer any solutions to pacify the country. Their inaction is leading to increased confrontation and deaths.[195] Immediate concrete steps, rather than negotiations, are needed to resolve the crisis in the country".[195] In the evening Tigipko held talks with opposition politicians Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Vitali Klitschko.[196]

Head of the Kiev City State Administration Volodymyr Makeyenko and 17 MP's resigned from the ruling Party of Regions.[197] In Rivne and Zhytomyr, the Party of Regions formally disbanded with all MPs from these regions leaving the party as well.[198]

Ten Party of Regions and two independent MP's[nb 2] called for the return to the parliamentary-presidential form of government.[199][nb 3] They also called out to security forces to "execute the oath they swore to the Ukrainian people, not to follow criminal orders to use firearms, not to allow the participation of law enforcers in provocations involving gangs against the peaceful public and protesters all over Ukraine".[199]

At 16:42 an emergency sitting of the Ukrainian parliament.[200] The Party of Regions did not take part in this session.[201] According to an UNIAN correspondent, 227 MPs (out of the total 450), mostly from the opposition and some representatives of the Party of Regions, were present at the sitting.[202] 236 deputies out of 238 present voted (first reading) to condemn the recent violence, ban the use of weapons against protesters, withdraw troops and the police deployed against them.[203][204] The parliament faction of the Communist Party of Ukraine in its full composition and some 80% of the Party of Regions representatives chose to miss the session.[205] Lawmakers barred chiefs and commanders of interior troops and the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the SBU and other government agencies from carrying out any counter-terrorism operations, as they contravene the Constitution of Ukraine.[206] They were also ordered to stop blocking roads and bridges, squares and streets in Kiev and other cities and towns.[206] The dozen of Party of Regions MP's present at the sitting agreed to form an "anti-crisis group".[207]

Late in the evening it was announced that five more MPs had left the parliamentary faction of the Party of Regions.[208]

The Parliament of Crimea called for an extraordinary session on 21 February. The leader of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People said he suspected that the session may ask for Russian military intervention, stating "Tomorrow may be a decision that will bring chaos and disaster to Crimea."[209] Several scholars have discussed the possibility of Russian military intervention in Crimea specifically, due to its unique geopolitical nature and demographics.[210]

21 February[edit]

Euromaidan crowds on 21 February

Deputy Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Yuri Dumansky wrote a letter of resignation from the Armed Forces because of disagreement over the involvement of the army in the conflict.[211] "Today the army is being involved in the civil conflict, which could lead to the mass deaths of civilians and soldiers," he said.[212] At around midnight, journalist Artem Shevchenko, referring to his sources in the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, announced that 10 BTRs departed from Kozachia (Cossack) Bay (where the Black Sea Fleet of Russia is based), escorted by DAI (Road Auto Inspection) vehicles.[213] According to the journalist, 1,500 airborne soldiers and 400 marines, including the 25th Airbourne Brigade, the 1st Marine Brigade, the 831st Anti-sabotage Unit and the 2nd Marine Spetsnaz, were transferred on 20 February under the command of the SBU for the ongoing anti-terrorist operation.[214]

In the lead up to the day's parliamentary session, it was reported that many members of the Party of Regions and their families had fled the capital,[215] including acting Interior Minister Zakharchenko and Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka.[216]

Later, Maidan activists released the Interior Troops servicemen who they had captured the previous day.[164] Meanwhile the entire police force of Radekhiv joined the protesters in Kiev.[217]

The Security Service of Ukraine officially ended its "preparations for antiterrorist operation which was introduced on February 19, this year".[218]

Deal[edit]

A compromise deal was agreed to (after hours of negotiations led by the European Union mediators and foreign ministers Radosław Sikorski of Poland, Laurent Fabius of France and Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany[219][220]) and signed by both opposition leaders and the president after overnight negotiations. The deal agreed to: a restoration of the Constitution as it was between 2004 and 2010; constitutional reform to be completed by September; early presidential elections no later than December 2014; an investigation into the violence conducted under joint monitoring of the authorities, opposition, and the Council of Europe; a veto on imposing a state of emergency; amnesty for protesters arrested since 17 February; surrendering of public buildings occupied by protesters; the forfeiture of illegal weapons; "new electoral laws" to be passed and the formation of a new Central Election Commission.[221][222] The three EU foreign ministers signed the document as witnesses;[223] Russian mediator Vladimir Lukin did not sign the deal, as he had no mandate to sign an agreement on the crisis.[224][225]

Parliament voted unanimously, 386–0, to return to the 2004 constitution, and then 332–0 in a vote to suspend acting interior minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko.[212] Another bill made changes to the Criminal Code, allowing for the release of Yulia Tymoshenko.[226] 310 MPs voted in favour of the measure, including 54 from the Party of Regions and 32 Communists.[227][228] A bill was introduced in parliament on the impeachment of president Yanukovych, filed by Mykola Rudkovsky.[229]

Deal's aftermath[edit]

Right Sector activists stand in front of a Belarusian democratic movement flag

In response to the deal, Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh rejected the agreement, stating "We have to state the obvious fact that the criminal regime had not yet realised either the gravity of its evil doing," and said the agreement failed to address the arrest of Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko, Berkut commanders alleged to have been involved in the murder of civilians, removal of General Prosecutor and Defense Ministers, ban on the Party of Regions and Communist Party, and guarantees of safety for those involved in the opposition. He called for the 'people's revolution' to continue until there is a full removal of power from authorities.[212] Euromaidan leader Andriy Parubiy insisted that elections be held as soon as possible, and reiterated that one of the main demands of protesters has been the resignation of President Yanukovych.[230] Automaidan also announced it would also not accept anything short of Yanukovych's resignation.[231]

Vitali Klitschko apologised to the crowd on Maidan if he offended anyone by shaking hands with Yanukovych.[232] Activists on Maidan responded to the deal by booing opposition leaders. Activist Volodymyr Parasiuk warned from the stage that if Yanukovych does not resign by 10:00 the next day, an armed coup would be staged.[233] From the stage of Maidan Oleh Lyashko expressed his support to the demand that Yanukovych resign by 10:00, "Either he resigns, or we take him away." Lyashko told Maidan. Outside of Kiev, it was later discovered that the summer home of pro-Russian politician Viktor Medvedchuk was set on fire.[234]

By late afternoon, hundreds of riot police officers guarding the presidential compound and nearby government buildings had vanished. Polish foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski described the withdrawal of forces as "astonishing," noting it was not part of the agreement.[235] The withdrawal itself was a reaction to calls in many regions of the country for police to be recalled to their home cities during the nationwide occupation of government buildings. Thereafter, Andriy Parubiy reported Euromaidan self-defence had peacefully gained control over Kiev and its Government buildings,[236] and that the military was standing with the opposition.[237]

Leading to the creation of a new parliamentary coalition, 28 MPs left the Party of Regions' faction.[238] Within the remaining faction a "group of 31 deputies with a special position" was formed by Sergiy Tigipko "intended to persuade other Party of Regions MPs to vote progressively".[239]

Casualties[edit]

Memorial in Kiev

Representatives of the opposition stated that Kiev hospitals were overflowing with injured people.[15] Following the first day of clashes, 26 were announced dead-16 protesters and 10 police. Those hospitalised included three minors, five journalists and 79 police.[14] According to Olga Bogomolets (Merited Doctor of Ukraine), "snipers were aiming at heart, lungs and neck".[240]

Deaths[edit]

From 18–19 February, the official death toll according to the Ministry of Healthcare was 28, 10 of whom were police and Berkut troops.[241]

By 13:00 on 20 February at least 34 protesters more had been shot dead by police, with reporters verifying the bodies (15 at the Kozatsky Hotel, 12 at the Ukraine Hotel, 7 at the Central Post Office).[160] In the early afternoon Kyiv Post journalists reported a further eight bodies on the streets of Khreshchatyk Street, in addition to the previous death toll.[160] According to the coordinator of medical services on Maidan, Oleh Musiy, by 17:30 on 20 February 70 protestors had been killed, but that the figure could be as high as 100.[242] Meanwhile, the Kyiv City State Administration reported 67 deaths, based on the number of bodies delivered to forensics.[243] The Ministry of Healthcare reported 75 deaths in total since the conflict began.[19]

Speculation on snipers[edit]

The IBTimes reported that a telephone call between Estonian foreign minister Urmas Paet and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton had been intercepted and Paet relayed testimony by a (medical?) doctor named Olga that the sniper killings during the protests were committed by the same people.[244]

Paet later asserted that he was not implicating the involvement of the opposition in the issue but merely relaying without veracity the content of Olga's phone call.[245] Olga Bogomolets, the doctor, who allegedly claimed that protesters and Berkut troops came under fire from the same source, said she had not told Mr Paet that policemen and protesters had been killed in the same manner, that she did not imply that the opposition was implicated in the killings and that the government informed her that an investigation had been started:[246]

Hennadiy Moskal, a former deputy head of Ukraine's main security agency, the SBU, and of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, suggested in an interview published in the Ukrainian newspaper Dzerkalo Tizhnya that snipers from the MIA and SBU were responsible for the shootings, not foreign agents, acting on contingency plans dating back to Soviet times, stating:[247][248]

"In addition to this, snipers received orders to shoot not only protesters, but also police forces. This was all done in order to escalate the conflict, in order to justify the police operation to clear Maidan."

He further suggested that the current minister of Internal Affairs, Avakov, and the chairman of the SBU, Nalivaichenko, were, although not responsible for the killings, covering them up and protecting the personnel that actually planned and carried out the operation, in order to prevent backlash against the ministry and to avoid prestige loss.[248] Interior Minister Avakov has stated that the conflict was provoked by a 'non-Ukrainian' third party, and that an investigation was ongoing.[81]

On 31 March 2014, the Daily Beast published photos and videos which show that the snipers were members of the Ukrainian Security Services (SBU) "anti-terrorist" Alfa Team unit, who had been trained in Russia. The media suggested that it was not the Ukrainian riot police which fired on the protesters as previously believed, although the members of Alfa Team are Ukrainian citizens.[249][250]


Aftermath[edit]

Removal of Yanukovych[edit]

On 21 February President Yanukovych and the Parliament declared 22 and 23 February to be new days of mourning "Due to the loss of human life as a result of mass disturbances".[251]

In Parliament, Speaker Volodymyr Rybak submitted his resignation, citing alleged illness.[252] Yanukovych's whereabouts were unknown despite media reports he had flown to Kharkiv. Oleksandr Turchynov stated that in fact most of the ministers had disappeared as well as Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko (who is reported to have fled to Belarus[253]) and President Viktor Yanukovych, "The only one legitimate body left is the Verkhovna Rada – so we are here to vote today. The major tasks for today are: to vote for the new speaker, prime minister and interior minister."[212] In the Verkhovna Rada, deputies voted 328:0 (of the 447 deputies)[254] to set the Presidential election date to 25 May.[63][255] The action did not follow the impeachment process as specified by the Constitution of Ukraine (which would have involved formally charging the president with a crime, a review of the charge by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, and a three-fourths majority vote – i.e. at least 338 votes in favor – by the Rada); instead, the Verkhovna Rada declared that Yanukovych "withdrew from his duties in an unconstitutional manner" and cited "circumstances of extreme urgency" as the reason for early elections.[256] Oleksandr Turchynov was then voted by parliament Chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament and acting President and Prime Minister of Ukraine.[257][258][259]

Turchynov claimed Viktor Yanukovych had agreed to resign as president, but after consulting with advisers, he disavowed the decision and even a pre-recorded resignation statement.[212] Yanukovych said he would not resign or leave the country, and called decisions by parliament "illegal" and that "The events witnessed by our country and the whole world are an example of a coup d'état," comparing it to the rise of the Nazis to power in Germany in the 1930s.[260]

The Communist Party office in Kiev was looted by unknown masked men armed with batons.[261]

Missing and prosecution[edit]

Following the parliamentary procedures to transfer power to the new provisional government, General Prosecutor Viktor Pshonka and Minister of Revenues and Duties Oleksandr Klymenko were stopped at the Russian border while trying to flee the country. According to the State Border Service, Viktor Yanukovych also tried to flee via a charter flight in Donetsk, but was stopped by border guards. The border agents were "met by a group of armed men who offered money for flying without the proper clearance". Yanukovych then left by armored car, his whereabouts unknown.[262] Former Interior Minister Zakharchenko also attempted to fly out of Donetsk and was denied access for similar reasons.[263]

On 23 February Rada deputy Oleh Lyashko claimed former President Yanukovich was seen at the Russian Naval base in Sevastopol where he was preparing to flee the country on board a Russian military vessel.[264] Journalist Tetyana Chornovol meanwhile speculated that he was attempting to flee by sea on his private yacht, also in Sevastopol.[265]

On 24 February, acting Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov declared that Yanukovych had been placed on the most wanted list and that "a criminal case on mass killings of civilians has been opened" for both him and other officials.[266][267]

On 25 February parliament asked the International Criminal Court to "establish and bring to justice" senior Ukrainian officials, including Yanukovych, for crimes against humanity during 21 November 2013 to 22 February 2014 "peaceful protests of citizens".[268]

On 25 February Yanukovych and former Interior Minister Zakharchenko were declared internationally wanted.[269] Also criminal proceedings were launched into 20 February killings of Euromaidan demonstrators; Yanukovych, former Head of the Presidential Administration Andriy Kliuyev, former Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka, former Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko, former Head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) Oleksandr Yakymenko, Commander of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry's Interior Troops Stanislav Shuliak, and a number of others were declared suspects in the case.[270]

Political developments[edit]

On 22 February Yulia Tymoshenko was released from prison and addressed the crowd on Maidan, which had over 100,000 attendees.[271] The same day parliament appointed Arsen Avakov as acting interior minister.[272] Parliament also ousted Viktor Pshonka as General Prosecutor of Ukraine in a no-confidence vote.[273]

On 23 February, the second day of national mourning, the Verkhovna Rada voted to abolish the law on language policies that had given the Russian, Romanian and Hungarian languages in some areas the official status of Regional languages.[4][274] However, this act was later vetoed by the acting President, who claimed that he will not sign the bill until new legislation protecting minority languages is developed.[5] The same day the Verkhovna Rada dismissed Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara, Minister of Health Raisa Bogatyrova and Education Minister Dmytro Tabachnyk and nationalised Yanukovych's private estate Mezhyhirya.[4][275] Warrants were issued for former Incomes Minister Oleksandr Klymenko and former Prosecutor-General Pshonka.[4] The Verkhovna Rada also passed amendments resuming the power to appoint and dismiss judges, which had earlier belonged to the Supreme Council of Justice.[276]

On 24 February, the Verkhovna Rada dismissed Social Policies Minister Natalia Korolevska and Culture Minister Leonid Novokhatko;[277] and dismissed Ihor Sorkin as governor of the National Bank of Ukraine, replacing him with Stepan Kubiv.[278][279] The same day the Verkhovna Rada appointed Valentyn Nalyvaichenko (UDAR) head of the Security Service of Ukraine after dismissing Oleksandr Yakymenko from this post.[280] Also on this day Party of Regions faction leader Oleksandr Yefremov declared that the party was moving into the opposition.[281] 77 of its MPs had left his faction over the past few days.[281]

On (Tuesday) 25 February acting President Turchynov announced "I am instructing the formation of a national unity government on Thursday".[282] (On 23 February he had asked for the formation of such a government by 25 February.[283]) Also on this day Anatoliy Kinakh and 32 other mostly former Party of Regions deputies created the parliamentary faction Economic Development.[284][285]

On 26 February acting President Turchynov assumed the duties of the supreme commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.[286][287]

Juridical developments[edit]

On 24 February, the Verkhovna Rada further decided to release all political prisoners, including father and son Pavlichenko of the Pavlichenko criminal case.[288] And it terminated the powers of five judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine appointed from the parliament's quota, for violating their oath.[289] Verkhovna Rada offered also the interim President of Ukraine to dismiss for breaking an oath two judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine who were appointed by the President of Ukraine, and the Council of Judges of Ukraine within three days to convene an extraordinary Congress of Judges of Ukraine in order to consider dismissal for breaking an oath of five judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine who were appointed by the Congress of Judges of Ukraine. Besides, in the above Resolution the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine assigned the Prosecutor General of Ukraine to initiate criminal proceedings against all judges, who, according to the opinion of People's Deputies of Ukraine are guilty of adopting on 30 September 2010 a decision of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine № 20-rp/2010 (case on observance of the procedure of introducing amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine). On 27 February 2014 judges of the Constitutional Court have sent to the European and international organizations and human rights institutions handling of protest against passed by Parliament decision.[290]

On 25 February parliament asked the International Criminal Court to "establish and bring to justice" senior Ukrainian officials, including Yanukovych, for crimes against humanity during 21 November 2013 to 22 February 2014 "peaceful protests of citizens".[268]

On 27 February Viktor Yanukovych, was accused of having stolen $70 billion from the state budget.[291]

Media bans[edit]

The Ukrainian National Council for TV and Radio Broadcasting instructed all cable operators on 11 March to stop transmitting a number of Russian channels, including the international versions of the main state-controlled stations Rossiya 1, Channel One and NTV, as well as news channel Rossiya 24.[292]

Blockage of traffic[edit]

On 18 February 2014 at 16:00, Kiev Metro stopped its activity, due to "a threat of terrorist act".[293][294][295] On 20 February at 10:00, Euromaidan's activists picketed the main office at the Kiev Metro station "Politekhnichnyi Instytut" with the requirement to reopen the metro.[296] Former head of the Kyiv City State Administration Ivan Saliy also called in favor of the resumption of the metro.[297] On 20 February at 16:00, the Titushky were transported by metro from Pozniaky to Pecherska stations, as "Lvivska gazeta" reported.[298] Administration of the metro made a rebuttal concerning carriage of police officers and other people.[299] The government also closed highways and railway access.

On the morning of 20 February, the Kiev metro had partly resumed service.[300][301]

The metro became fully operational again (including the reopening of the Maidan Nezalezhnosti station) on 24 February 2014.[302]

Berkut dissolved[edit]

On 25 February 2014 the new regime's acting Interior Minister Arsen Avakov signed a decree on the dissolution of the Berkut.[303] In March 2014 Russia announced that the Crimean Berkut unit would preserve its name as it incorporates into the Russian Interior Ministry.[304][nb 4]

Protests against the new government[edit]

According to Cathy Young, in the Antimaidan protests against the revolution, street posters, Internet posts, and even speeches at rallies attacked the new Kiev government as a 'Jewish clique' seeking to use Ukrainians to defend the interests of wealthy Jews, and depicted the revolution as a “Zionist coup.”[307]

Southern and Eastern Ukraine[edit]

Pro-Russian protesters in Donetsk, March 1, 2014
Pro-Russian activists marching Odessa streets on 30 March 2014

The pro-Russian Ukrainian Front organisation announced a meeting to be held on 22 February among representatives from southern and eastern Ukraine.[308] Andriy Kluyev is an organiser of the event and the group intends to discuss the federalisation of the country into semi-autonomous regions.[309] Following the agreement with the opposition and measures made in parliament, President Yanukovych then flew from Kiev to Kharkiv to attend the Ukrainian Front congress; sources also indicated that Berkut forces had been amassed in Kharkiv in anticipation of the event.[310][311][312] As Yuriy Lutsenko reported, past midnight on 22 February, the SBU opened criminal proceedings against Kharkiv governor Mikhail Dobkin and mayor Hennadiy Kernes for advocating separatism.[313]

At the Congress of the Southern and Eastern regions in Kharkiv on 22 February, the deputies passed a resolution, declaring that they are ready to take responsibility for protecting constitutional order in their territory. They stated that the recent events in Kiev led to paralysis of the central power and a destabilisation in the country.[314] They also signed a statement rejecting the authority of Parliament.[315] The Interior Ministry reported that governor Dobkin and Mayor Kernes then fled the country to Russia.[316]

On February 23, the Ukrainian parliament adopted a bill to repeal the law on minority languages, which—if signed by the Ukrainian President—would have established Ukrainian as the sole official state language of all Ukraine, including Crimea which is populated by a Russian-speaking majority.[317] The Christian Science Monitor reported: "The [adoption of this bill] only served to infuriate Russian-speaking regions, [who] saw the move as more evidence that the antigovernment protests in Kiev that toppled Yanukovich's government were intent on pressing for a nationalistic agenda."[318] A proposal to repeal the law was vetoed on 28 February 2014 by acting President Oleksandr Turchynov.[319]

On 23 February, tensions remained in Kharkiv as clashes erupted between thousands of equally sized pro and anti regime rallies, and Mayor Kernes was blockaded from entering the city council building.[320] Pro-Russian protesters stood guard over the statue of Vladimir Lenin in the city center,[321] but it was announced by the deputy head of the Regional State Administration that the city would dismantle the statue regardless on 25 February.[322]

On 24 February acting Interior Minister Arsen Avakov announced that a criminal case was launched against Yevhen Zhylin, leader of the Kharkiv-based anti-Euromaidan organisation Oplot.[323]

On 1 March thousands of people in Kharkiv, Donetsk, Simferopol, Odessa, Luhansk, Melitopol, Yevpatoria, Kerch and Mariupol protested against new government.[324][325][326]

Public surveys of April 2014 reveal in the eastern regions most feel all levels of government to be illegitimate. Half of respondents believe that President Oleksandr Turchynov is "illegally occupying his post". Roughly half also held the same opinion about the central government headed by Arseniy Yatsenyuk.[327] However, nearly 70% of all regions agreed that deposed president Viktor Yanukovych was also not the legal president of the country.[328]

Crimea[edit]

Following the Ukrainian revolution, a secession crisis began on Ukraine's Russian-leaning Crimean Peninsula. On 1 March 2014, exiled Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych put into writing his request that Putin initiate Russia's use of military forces "to establish legitimacy, peace, law and order, stability and defending the people of Ukraine".[329] On the same day, Putin requested and received authorization from the Russian Parliament to deploy Russian troops to Ukraine in response to the crisis.[65] Russian troops accordingly mobilized throughout Crimea and the southeast of Ukraine. By 2 March, Russian troops had complete control over Crimea.[330][331][332]

Destruction of monuments[edit]

At least 25 statues of Vladimir Lenin have been destroyed by Euromaidan protesters.[333] The militant group Right Sector have been blamed for much of the destruction.[333][334][dubious ] In addition to the Lenin statues, a statue honoring the memory of the "Soviet Soldiers" was removed in the Western Ukrainian city of Stryi.[335][336] In early December, 2013 unknown activists partially painted the statue honouring the workers of Arsenal factory in Kiev in red and black (similar to flag of nationalistic Ukrainian Insurgent Army) who died during Civil War in 1918.[337] On 28 February 2014, monument dedicated to Soviet forces who fought World War II and memorial to Soviet soldiers who fought in Afghanistan both erected in Dnepropetrovsk city were vandalized and painted with nationalistic slogans. [338] The Russian Foreign Ministry has described the targeting of Russian or Soviet-built monuments as "Russophobic vandalism" and an "outrage" on its English-language Twitter account, and demanded that it be stopped.[339]

RSA occupations[edit]

Euromaidan-occupied regional government offices on 3 March 2014

Starting on 18 February, Euromaidan activists occupied regional state administration (RSA) buildings in several oblasts (regions).[340]

Economic[edit]

Another expected effect of the revolution is a hike of 50% on the price of natural gas sold to domestic consumers in Ukraine. The hike is expected to take effect on 1 May as part of a set of intertwined contingencies required by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in order to provide financial support to Ukraine. Before the hike, all natural gas bought by the government of Ukraine was resold to consumers under government subsidies at below market prices. The IMF required Ukraine to reform these subsidies in order to provide the national government with an aid package worth billions of euros. In May, it disbursed $US3.2 billion to stabilise the Ukraine and, according to a calculated endorsed by Michael Hudson, by mid August $3.1 billion of the sum had been salted away off-shore by kleptocrats. The banking system needs more than $5 billion over the $17 billion the IMF has undertaken to lend.[341] The European Union, in turn, required Ukraine to secure this aid package from the IMF in order for the EU to financially support Ukraine under the terms of the recently signed Ukraine-EU Association Agreement in an amount of about €1.6 billion euros.[342] Similarly, gas prices for district heating companies are also expected to rise by 40% from 1 July. Anders Aslund, a former economic adviser to the Ukrainian government, believes that Ukraine's expenses can be cut down by 2% of its GDP if gas subsidies are stopped.[343]

Sports[edit]

On 19 February 2014, UEFA announced that it had decided to change the venue of the 2013–14 UEFA Europa League Round of 32 match Dynamo Kyiv vs. Valencia from Olympic Stadium, Kiev, to GSP Stadium, Nicosia, Cyprus, due to the riots in Kiev.[344][345][346]

Dynamo Kyiv and the other Ukrainian clubs and their opponents in this Round of 32 held a minute of silence for the victims in Kiev before the match and the players played with mourning armbands on.[347][348][349]

On 25 February 2014, following games of the 2013–14 Ukrainian Basketball SuperLeague were transferred to later term.[350][351]

On 26 February 2014, the second part of the 2013–14 Ukrainian Premier League was suspended due to situation in the country.[352]

On March 3, 2014, a scheduled friendly between the United States and Ukraine in Kharkiv was moved to Nicosia, Cyprus out of safety concerns regarding potential instability in the Kharkiv Oblast.[353]

Three HC Donbass home playoff games were moved from Donetsk's Druzhba Arena to Slovnaft Arena in Bratislava, Slovakia.[354] After playing Game 7 of their first round series against Dinamo Riga and Games 3 and 4 in the second round against Lev Praha in the Slovak capital, the team returned to Donetsk for the sixth game of the series against Lev.

Reactions[edit]

Domestic responses[edit]

Verkhovna Rada[edit]

On 20 February the parliament resumed its work around 16:00 and worked until about 23:00 which led that parliamentarians adopted a law draft "about condemnation of the violence that led to the deaths of peaceful citizens of Ukraine".[355]

On 21 February at 10:15 the parliament made a press release that Volodymyr Rybak signed the parliamentary resolution "About condemning violence in Ukraine, which led to loss of life" which orders the Cabinet of Ukraine and all siloviks to stop the use of force and to prohibit the use of any weapons and special measures against citizens of Ukraine.[356]

Political response[edit]

  • Iryna Herashchenko, a member of parliament with Vitali Klitschko's opposition Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform party, commented on the critical state of Ukrainian health services, saying: "Emergency services and all are filled to the brink. There is nowhere to put people up. The doctors are wonderful. Their sacrifice is impressive. They work with full dedication, fight for everyone who is injured."[139]
  • After negotiations with President Viktor Yanukovych, opposition leader Arseniy Yatseniuk said that the talks "ended with nothing...deputies from the opposition said Yanukovych threatened all opposition leaders with criminal responsibility. We only had one item: immediately start the truce, but they told us to effectively give in. Since a truce has not been announced and the government has no such desire, we're standing on the brink of the most dramatic page of the history of Ukraine."[139]
  • In a statement on his party's website, opposition leader Vitali Klitschko wrote:"Yanukovych reacts to the situation absolutely inadequately. All he's been talking about is that the leaders of the opposition should call on people on Maidan (Kyiv's Independence Square) to end the standoff and lay down arms...these are police forces that are violently shooting at protesters downtown Kyiv. "This is what I suggest: authorities should immediately withdraw law enforcers and put an end to the bloody crackdown, as people continue to die. This is what I've told Yanukovych. Could talks be a solution while blood has been shed? But unfortunately he has no understanding of the situation."[139]
  • Acting Prime Minister Serhiy Arbuzov told a 19 February 2014 cabinet meeting "It is unacceptable to talk about European values and the desire for a new level of Ukraine's development and at the same time sacrifice human lifes, destroy the state's and citizens' goods, burn their cars and apartments, and shame the country in the eyes of international community".[138]
  • Acting Minister of justice Olena Lukash accused the opposition of violating agreements reached and demanded an immediate end to violence. She argued that the escalation was the fault of extremists.[357]
  • Party of Regions MP Oleh Tsariov appeared on Russian TV and announced they would clear Maidan within an hour, and stated "After we bring order to Maidan, we'll bring it nationwide."[15]
  • Party of Regions MP Vadym Kolesnichenko blamed the opposition and Angela Merkel for the violence in Ukraine.[358]
  • On 18 February 2014 in an interview with Hromadske TV Inna Bohoslovska said that she saw policemen disguised as protesters shooting at other policemen.[359] The same day the MVS website was showing people dressed as protesters with firearms.[360]
  • Yulia Tymoshenko calls the opposition to cease any talks with Viktor Yanukovych.[361]
  • An international group of researchers who specialize in the study of far right political movements published a joint statement in which they disagreed with claims about the nationalist character of the Ukrainian revolution, pointing out that it has mostly democratic and liberal character. According to the letter signed by these researchers, while nationalist groups are present and involved in the protests, their influence on the movement is marginal but disproportionately highlighted by Russian media who are using this as weapon of Russian imperialism.[362]

Regions[edit]

  • Presidium of the Supreme Council of Crimea (the parliament of Crimea) – "Peaceful Crimea is extremely worried by another outbreak of violence in the center of Kiev. Slaughter on the capital's streets proves that the opposition has perceived numerous concessions on the part of the authorities as a manifestation of weakness and has taken advantage of the amnesty law[nb 5] to take a respite before a new attempt to forcibly seize power in the country," and that "innocent people died at the hands of the lawless gunmen on February 18. These are no longer peaceful protests, of which the opposition leaders and biased mass media outlets have said repeatedly, and not even mass unrest. This is the beginning of a civil war."[363]
  • Deputies of the Luhansk Oblast declared – ″We turn to the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovich with the demand to take strict measures concerning those, who today virtually went to war against our country, and to introduce a state of emergency. The time of peaceful negotiations has ended – negotiations cannot be held with terrorists and extremists!″[364]
  • Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People – former chairman Mustafa Abdülcemil Qırımoğlu stated "They[who?] will answer for the blood of every patriot. I urge all citizens to create pockets of resistance."[365]

Oligarchs[edit]

  • Rinat Akhmetov, a Yanukovych supporter, denounced the violence, "There are no circumstances that would justify the use of force against peaceful citizens. Peaceful citizens must not suffer in any situation. This must be the main objective for the government, the opposition and all conflicting parties. Human losses and injuries suffered by protesters and law-enforcers during street clashes is an unacceptable price for political mistakes."[15][366]
On 26 February Akhmetov released a statement in which he called for reforms in Ukraine, introduce effective public administration mechanisms, considerably expand the powers of regional administrations, and increase the transparency and accountability of the authorities to civil society.[367]
  • Viktor Pinchuk – "A peaceful solution must be found, it is imperative to refrain from the use of force and find a compromise. Ukraine since its independence has avoided bloodshed. We must return to this tradition immediately. From this minute, this is the responsibility of everyone—those in power, the opposition, civil society, business. It is time for all sides to take courageous steps towards compromise that they may not yet have been ready to take even this morning. For each of us, love for Ukraine must be immeasurably more important than any other feelings and interests."[15]

International reactions[edit]

International organisations[edit]

  •  United Nations – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 19 February called for an end to the "unacceptable" violence in Ukraine and called for an amnesty for those detained during the unrest.[368]
  •  European Union – EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton urged president Yanukovych, the government together with the leaders of the opposition "to address the root causes of the crisis".[369] In addition, the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, issued a statement expressing his condolences to the families of those killed, and calling for an end to the violence. He also noted that "The EU has been offering its sincere assistance to facilitate political dialogue between the sides and de-escalate the situation. We continue to believe that constitutional reform, formation of a new inclusive government and creating conditions for democratic elections constitute the only way-out of this deep and long-lasting political crisis. [...] Yet, we have also made it clear that the EU will respond to any deterioration on the ground. We therefore expect that targeted measures against those responsible for violence and use of excessive force can be agreed by our Member States as a matter of urgency"[370]
  • Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe – OSCE chairperson-in-office, Swiss foreign minister Didier Burkhalter, on 19 February urged Ukrainian authorities "to do their utmost to defuse the menacing situation in the country" and put forward suggestions for measures to de-escalate the conflict, including the assignment of "an impartial international facilitator, possibly working in tandem with a respected Ukrainian personality, and dispatching an international expert team to establish facts on violent incidents and human rights violations".[371]
  • European Union Council of Europe – Secretary General of the Council, Thorbjørn Jagland in a statement on 18 February insisted that the Ukrainian Parliament should have a "serious debate on how to end the crisis" and offered the legal and constitutional support of the Council of Europe.[372]
  • Weimar Triangle-in a joint statement by foreign ministers of France, Germany and Poland issued on 28 February, the three countries urged the new authorities to respect minority rights stating:a lasting accommodation of the existing diversity in Ukrainian society necessitates reaching out to Eastern and Southern regions and engaging with all legitimate interests, including minority rights especially regarding language issues.[373]

States[edit]

  •  Armenia – Foreign Ministry spokesman said on 20 February: "We deeply regret the tens of victims as a result of clashes in Kiev. Ukraine is a friendly country for Armenia. We hope that the sides will resume talks to achieve a peaceful settlement of contentious issues".[374]
  •  Australia – Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on 19 February condemned the violence and loss of life in Ukraine and urged both sides to resume positive political negotiations to resolve the crisis.[375]
  •  Canada – Foreign Minister John Baird on 18 February declared in a statement: "Canada calls on all sides to show restraint and to cease all acts of violence immediately. No act of violence or repression today will go unnoticed by the Government of Canada, and we will work with our allies in the international community to ensure that those responsible will be held to account."[376] On the same day, the foreign minister also said that Canada would supply demonstrators in Ukraine with medical aid.[377]
  •  Colombia – Foreign Ministry, on behalf of the Government, released a press release stating "deep concern about the situation in Ukraine" while also deploring the "acts of violence that have taken place in the last couple of days. In the same press statement, Colombia urged the Government of Ukraine to "guarantee security, human rights, and the fundamental liberties of its citizens".[378]
  •  Czech Republic – Foreign minister Lubomír Zaorálek on a meeting with the Ukrainian ambassador on 19 February described the use of violence against protesters as "absolutely unacceptable" and that "under no circumstances, should internal problems be solved in such a manner".[379]
  •  Estonia – Foreign minister Urmas Paet in a statement on 19 February said "We need to help Ukraine out of this crisis" and also stated that "Estonia is prepared to consider punitive measures against all those responsible for the increase in violence."[380]
  •  Finland – Foreign minister Erkki Tuomioja in a statement on 18 February expressed his condolences to the families of those killed, urging an end to the violence and showing support for the work of the EU, the OSCE and the Council of Europe in their attempts to mediate in the conflict.[381]
  •  Georgia – Foreign Ministry released a statement on 18 February condemning the use of force and added that they are "extremely concerned over tragic events" in Kiev.[382] On 20 February, President Giorgi Margvelashvili stated that the "use of arms against own people does not speak well of any government" and warned that "not a single government has managed to get away with it."[383]
In an interview with the Guardian, Irakli Alasania, Georgia's defence minister said that the Ukrainian revolution was "first strategic failure for Putin." Alasania was sanguine about the potential for trouble to escalate. "There's a lot of rhetoric and chest-thumping. It's not unusual. But Russia won't go into military confrontation. I don't think there's a military option on the table for Putin."[384]
  •  Germany – Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned "Those responsible for making decisions that lead to further bloodshed should know that Europe's decision on sanctions will be reconsidered for sure".[369]
  •  Hungary – The Foreign Ministry expressed its deep concern and extended condolences to the victims' families. It also stated that, as a neighbouring country, Hungary is interested in a "stable, democratic, and integrated Ukraine, as well as directly interested in the legal certainty of the Trans Carpathian Hungarians".[385]
  •  Israel – Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman stated that Israel was concerned about the events and expressed hope that the situation would resolve without loss of human life.[386]
  •  Italy – Foreign minister Emma Bonino on 20 February called for visa sanctions against those responsible for violence, a weapons embargo and also humanitarian support.[387]
  •  Latvia – The ministry of foreign affairs issued a statement on 19 February, putting the full responsibility for the escalation of the crisis on the Ukrainian government. The statement also read, "Those guilty of causing violence must be held responsible."[388]
  •  Lithuania – The Foreign ministry issued a note stating in part "We demand to halt violence immediately and thoroughly investigate all the incidents, which have resulted in deaths and injuries, and to arraign the perpetrators before court. Once again, we invite the European Union member states to discuss a possibility of applying target measures against those responsible for the use of force."[389]
  •  Poland – Secretary of State Henryka Mościcka-Dendys from MSZ told the Jyllands-Posten daily on 21 February 2014 that Poland trusts the Ukrainian people to decide for themselves what future for Ukraine they want, while stressing the significance of Polish-Ukrainian relations extending beyond history and into individual family ties. There was a time, she said, when Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary were believed to remain in the Soviet Bloc forever and yet, it was the Russian leader who changed that belief, Boris Yeltsin in 1989. That situation is analogous to the current one, because in the long-run the more democratic Russia of the future can only benefit from the pro-European Ukraine.[390]
  •  Romania – President Traian Băsescu, has stated that the events threaten the stability in the region. Furthermore, the president has declared that "Romania agrees with the proposed individual sanctions, for the silver lining has been crossed. The 25 deaths serve as evidence for the fact that both parties (e.n. the Ukrainian government and the protesters) have crossed the line".[391] The Prime Minister of Romania, Victor Ponta, has made an immediate appeal to peace, stating that "diplomatic efforts will lead to the cessation of violence".[392]
  •  Russian Federation – Russian Foreign Ministry stated on 19 February: "What is happening is a direct result of the policies of appeasement by Western politicians and European institutions, which from the beginning of the crisis turned a blind eye to the aggressive actions of radical forces in Ukraine, thereby encouraging them to escalate and provoke the legitimate authority."[393][source needs translation] According to the press secretary of the President of Russia, Russia considers the events in Ukraine a coup attempt.[394][source needs translation]
On 20 February 2014, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev stated that Russia could only cooperate fully with Ukraine when its leadership was in "good shape".[153] He added that Russia wants a "strong government" in Ukraine, "so that people don't wipe their feet on the authorities like a doormat".[168] Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov likened threats of EU sanctions "on those responsible for Ukraine violence to blackmail" "The EU is also trying to consider the introduction of sanctions and at the same time they come to Kiev on uninvited missions".[180]
On 25 February Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed concern about the faith of the TV channel "Inter", Russian TV channels in Ukraine, freedom of speech in Ukraine and the abolition of the Ukrainian law on language and added that his government was interested in "preventing the influence of radicals and nationalists, who are now trying to play the first violin".[395]
  •  Sweden – Foreign minister Carl Bildt issued a statement saying in part, "The EU will not hesitate on measures against interests of persons associated with repression and violence in Ukraine."[15] He also noted Yanukovych has "blood on his hands."[396]
  •  Turkey – Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in a press conference, "Ukraine is one of the countries with a strategic location in the Black Sea basin. Stability of Ukraine and peace in the country is of vital importance to the whole region".[397]
  •  United Kingdom – Foreign Secretary William Hague said "It is clear ousted President Viktor Yanukovych's authority is no longer widely accepted in Ukraine and Britain is working with the new government in Kiev....Ukraine had a pressing need for constitutional reform, improvements to its political culture, free elections, and an end to pervasive corruption. Meanwhile, the international community must work with the new government to discourage further violence and agree on international financial support. Ukraine's financial situation is very serious and without outside assistance might not be sustainable. An economic crisis in Ukraine would be a grave threat to the country's stability and have damaging wider consequences. It wasn't clear the country could wait until presidential elections in late May for a financial package as it faced dwindling reserves, a depreciating currency, and large foreign exchange debts that were falling due, and it was also shut out of international capital markets." Asked about who the U.K. recognized as the current head of state, Hague said Britain was working with the new government.[398] "There is of course a dispute constitutionally about who is the president, but in this situation it is very clear that, whatever the constitutional provisions, the authority of Mr. Yanukovych is no longer widely recognized as president," he said. "And in order to achieve the objectives that I've just set out, it's necessary for us to talk to the speaker who has been declared the acting president."
  •  United States – President Barack Obama warned on 19 February that there would be consequences if violence continues in Ukraine and that the Ukrainian military should not step into a situation that could be resolved by civilians.[399][400] The US also imposed a visa ban on 20 senior Ukrainian officials and other people it accused of being behind the violent crackdown on protesters.[401] On 20 February 2014, President Obama sharply criticized Russian support of the Yanukovych government and called for respect of people's basic freedoms.[402]

Politicians[edit]

  • Former Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said Russia had bought Ukraine's sovereignty with its latest offer of cash. He also said that Europe's reaction was "absolutely inadequate."[15]
  • The former Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mircea Geoană, has stated that a civil war within Ukraine is "not excluded". Geoană considers the crisis to be "the most severe crisis at Romania's border in many years".[403]
  • Former Ukraine president Leonid Kravchuk said that state of emergency should be introduced in Kiev in order to stop civil war.[404]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In Luhansk Governor of Luhansk Oblast Valeriy Holenko said: “We believe that Ukraine becoming a federation will ensure the security of the people. No one’s going to teach us how to live, how to love our motherland or what political interests we defend”.[191][192]
  2. ^ The MP's from the Party of Regions were Andriy Derkach, Volodymyr Zubyk, Hryhoriy Smitiukh, Oleksandr Kuzmuk, Volodymyr Pekhov, Volodymyr Prodyvus, Volodymyr Struk, Mykola Soroka, Viktor Bondar, Viktor Tykhonov, and two independent lawmakers were Oleksandr Tabalov and Andriy Tabalov.[199]
  3. ^ On 4 February 2014 the opposition had unsuccessfully tried to push through an unconditional amnesty for all detained protesters, and the returning to the constitution as it was between 2004 and 2010, in the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's parliament).[citation needed]
  4. ^ The status of Crimea and Sevastopol is currently under dispute by Ukraine and Russia; Ukraine and the majority of the international community consider Crimea an autonomous republic of Ukraine and Sevastopol one of Ukraine's cities with special status, while Russia, on the other hand, considers Crimea a federal subjects of Russia and Sevastopol one of its federal cities.[305] Both are completely under Russian control.[306]
  5. ^ This law regulated the exempt from criminal liabilities and punishment for Euromaidan protesters who committed crimes in the period 27 December 2013 through 2 February 2014 and had came into effect on 17 February 2014.[70]

References[edit]

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