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Euromaidan in Ukraine - First Anniversary

Various Photographers

 

Euromaidan, or Maidan movement, was a wave of protests that escalated into deadly civil unrest in Kiev, Ukraine, which lasted several months after it started at the end of November 2013. The movement, a reaction to the refusal of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to sign an EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, called for Yanukovych and his cabinet’s resignation. The Ukrainian government were accused of corruption and of hindering Ukraine’s integration with the European Union (EU). Yanukovych resisted resignation but was eventually ousted following several ultimatums made by the Maidan activists, who were led by Ukrainian opposition leaders Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Oleh Tyahnybok and heavyweight boxer-turned politician Vitali Klitschko. Yanukovych fled to Russia in February 2014 after a violent police crackdown on the protesters left at least 100 people dead.

 

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister and supporter of Ukraine’s EU integration Yulia Tymoshenko was released from prison on 22 February during Euromaidan, which saw her run for president in the May elections. Her release had been one of the demands of the Maidan activists, though it came after Yanukovych fled. Petro Poroshenko was elected as Ukrainian President, signing the economic section of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement on 27 June.

 

Despite the recent advances towards EU integration in Kiev, the movement also set the scene for political instability and unrest elsewhere in Ukraine, with citizens of Crimea going to the poles in a status referendum followed by the annexation of the region by Russia in March. The referendum was not recognised by the United Nations (UN) and declared illegitimate by many countries.

 

The on-going Donbass War sees separatists and pro-Russian rebel groups fighting Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin denying involvement and presence of Russian military personal on Ukrainian territory, despite NATO intelligence showing Russian forces have crossed the border on multiple occasions. The downing of Malaysia Airlines passenger jet MH17, the deadliest airplane shoot-down in history, which saw 298 passengers and crew members lose their lives, is believed to have been carried out by pro-Russian separatists, at least according to US and German intelligence agencies.

 

Ukraine has been in the international media spotlight since the Euromaidan began on 21 November 2013. As a result of the movement, Kiev is moving closer to future EU integration for the country, while parts of eastern Ukraine are in a state of turmoil.

 

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