An Illustrated Timeline of Key Events of the Political Crisis in Ukraine, 2013-2014.
Photo © hansi_hrb

Over the course of several years, Ukraine was working on preparations for signing an agreement regarding association with the European Union, an agreement meant to expand economic collaboration between Ukraine and one of the world’s largest markets. But at a certain point in November of 2013, Nikolai Azarov’s government “pulled the emergency brake” when it rejected association with Europe in favor of closer ties to Russia. This brought out onto Kiev’s main square thousands of people who objected to such a sudden shift in the country’s course. The ensuing brutal break-up of the peaceful protest event, and the authorities’ attempts to use force against the protestors, rendered the topic of European integration secondary in importance. The battle for human rights and democratic values, and against government corruption and tyranny, came to the forefront. The authorities’ subsequent attempts to suppress the protest using force, which included abducting and arresting protesters, as well as adopting “dictatorial laws”, shifted the protest into a violent confrontation. Protests spilled out beyond the borders of the capital’s Maidan and gripped the greater portion of Ukraine’s regions. The confrontation in the capital peaked on the night between February 18th and 19th, when security forces surrounded Maidan and began a full-fledged storm. But the protesters stood their ground. Twenty-four hours later, at Maidan, snipers were employed. Around a hundred people died from their bullets. As later became known, President Yanukovych was at this same time collecting his things and preparing to flee. On February 22nd, 2014, he fled Ukraine.