protests in ukraine

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March of National Dignity in Kiev

A few thousand Ukrainians rallied on Wednesday to demand a change of political leadership in a demonstration that coincided with the third anniversary of the ousting of pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovich amid mass street protests.

The rally was organized by three right-wing parties who accuse the government of being too weak and conciliatory in the face of Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region and its support for pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country.

The crowd chanted “Glory to Ukraine!” and carried banners with slogans such as “The government should fight (Russian President Vladimir) Putin, not Ukrainians.”

Kiev resident Vasyl Volskiy said he was taking part in the demonstration because he believed the authorities had failed to deliver on promises to reform the economy.

“There has been no improvement, it has even become worse compared to what it used to be. The army still has no resources, just like before. People have become three times poorer and the authorities are not doing anything,” he said.

None of the three groups behind the rally - the nationalist Svoboda (Freedom) party, the far-right Right Sector and the newly formed National Corps party founded by members of the Azov battalion - are currently represented in parliament.

Yanukovich has lived in exile in Russia since fleeing Ukraine on Feb. 22, 2014. His successor, Petro Poroshenko, has tried to move Ukraine towards the European Union but the country is still dogged by poverty and corruption, and the conflict in eastern Ukraine remains unresolved. (Reuters)

Photo credits: Efrem Lukatsky (2) /AP, Sergii Kharchenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images (2), Sergei Chuzavkov/AP

See more photos from march and our other slideshows on Yahoo News.

UKRAINE, Kiev : A row of coffee vendors trailers in the form of pink snails, block the entrance to the city hall and the office of the mayor Vitalii Klitschko during a protest in Kiev on July 30, 2015.  The demonstration was staged in protest against recent legislation deemed harmful to the trade and livelihood of street vendors.    AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY

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Some of the most striking photos of 2014

A masked pro-Russian protester sits on a chair as he poses for a picture inside a regional government building in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine in this April 25, 2014.

An Indonesian student protester runs after he caught fire while throwing a molotov cocktail towards police during a protest in Makassar, South Sulawesi Province.

A girl from the minority Yazidi sect rests after fleeing violence in Sinjar, in this August 13, 2014

A volcano eruption in Japan has left a city covered in ash. The Sakurajima volcano erupted on Sunday afternoon, turning Kagoshima into an ash city.

Correction : The volcanic ash covered mountain cabins near Kagoshima (not the entire city).

Rostislav Vasilko get beaten up during Ukrainian protests, 22 February 2014, Kiev, Ukraine.

Endangered whale shark caught by Chinese fishermen

A group of young Samburu warriors touch a black rhino for the first time in their lives, at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, in northern Kenya.

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UKRAINE. Kiev. February 2016. Pro-EU protesters during the Euromaidan Revolution. [Part 1]

The Ukrainian Revolution took place in Ukraine in February 2014, when a series of violent events involving protesters, riot police, and unknown shooters in the capital, Kiev, culminated in the ousting of Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych.

Protests originally erupted in November 2013 after Yanukovych refused to sign a political association and free trade agreement with the European Union, choosing closer ties with Russia instead. The rallies were initially peaceful but became violent in January 2014 after the Parliament, dominated by Yanukovych’s supporters, passed laws intended to repress the protests. 

Thus, this period of relative calm in the anti-government demonstrations in Kiev ended abruptly on 18 February 2014, when protesters and police began to clash. Some 20,000 Euromaidan protesters 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 Yanukovych was elected president in 2010. The police blocked their path. The confrontation turned violent; the BBC reported that each side blamed the other. The 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. The protesters fought back with crude weapons, firearms, and improvised explosives. At least 82 people were killed over the next few days and more than 1,100 people were injured.

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

On 22 February, the protesters were reported to be in control of Kiev, and Yanukovych was said to have fled the capital for eastern Ukraine. The parliament voted 328–0 in favour of impeaching Yanukovych and scheduled new presidential elections for 25 May.

On 23 February, Parliament deputy Oleh Lyashko claimed that Yanukovych had been seen at the Russian naval base in Sevastopol, preparing to flee the country on board a Russian military vessel.

On 24 February, acting Interior Minister Avakov announced that Yanukovych had been placed on the country’s most wanted list and that “a criminal case on mass killings of civilians has been opened” for him and other officials.

On 25 February, Parliament asked the International Criminal Court to “establish and bring to justice” senior Ukrainian officials, including Yanukovych, for crimes against humanity committed during “peaceful protests of citizens” from 21 November 2013 to 22 February 2014. On the same day, Yanukovych and Zakharchenko were declared internationally wanted. Criminal proceedings were launched in the 20 February killings of Euromaidan demonstrators.

Following the Ukrainian revolution, a secession crisis began in the Russian-leaning Crimean Peninsula. On 1 March 2014, Yanukovych put into writing his request that President Putin of Russia send military forces “to establish legitimacy, peace, law and order, stability and defending the people of Ukraine”. On the same day, Putin requested and received authorization from the Russian Parliament to deploy troops to Ukraine in response to the crisis. Russian troops accordingly mobilized throughout Crimea and the southeast of Ukraine. By 2 March, Russian troops had complete control over Crimea. The territory was annexed by the Russian Federation on 18 March 2014. The crisis is still ongoing.

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UKRAINE. Kiev. February 2014. Heroes of the Euromaidan Revolution. [Part 9]

The Ukrainian Revolution took place in Ukraine in February 2014, when a series of violent events involving protesters, riot police, and unknown shooters in the capital, Kiev, culminated in the ousting of pro-Russia Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, in favour of the EU.

Photographs 1 & 2: Jean-Marc Caimi/Redux

Photograph 1: A young man taking flowers and chocolate to celebrate a friend’s birthday in Maidan. He is a native of the Vinnycja region and is a sales agent in a supermarket. 

Photograph 2: Originally from the Dnipropetrovsk region and a veteran of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, this anti-government protester is the director of a children’s hospital and also works for a security agency. He believes that returning to the 2004 constitution with limited presidential power is a crucial step in the path to freedom. 

Photographs 3, 4, 5 & 6: Valentina Piccinni/Redux

Photograph 3: A retired man from western Ukraine. His father fought for Ukraine’s independence decades ago but was arrested, sent to Siberia and imprisoned for 22 years. He wears an “enemy” outfit, confiscated by protesters during a clash. 

Photograph 4: A priest of the Orthodox Ukrainian Church from St. Nicholas parish in Kiev. In early December he was drawn to the people gathering in the main square to protest and fight. 

Photograph 5: A protester from the city of Lviv, in western Ukraine, is applying to become a cook and wants to move to Poland to finish his studies. He shares his thoughts of freedom with those who came to the Maidan, or main protest camp, to free the country from what they believe is a corrupt government. 

Photograph 6: A man in the International Centre of Culture and Arts, which has been occupied by protesters. He is a schoolteacher and is overwhelmed by the violence of the riots and the brutality of the government forces. 

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UKRAINE. Kiev. February 2016. Pro-EU and pro-Ukraine protesters during the Euromaidan Revolution. [Part 6]

The Ukrainian revolution took place in Ukraine in February 2014, when a series of violent events involving protesters, riot police, and unknown shooters in the capital, Kiev, culminated in the ousting of pro-Russia Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, in favour of the EU.

Protests originally erupted in November 2013 after Yanukovych refused to sign a political association and free trade agreement with the European Union, choosing closer ties with Russia instead. The rallies were initially peaceful but became violent in January 2014 after the Parliament, dominated by Yanukovych’s supporters, passed laws intended to repress the protests.

Thus, this period of relative calm in the anti-government demonstrations in Kiev ended abruptly on 18 February 2014, when protesters and police began to clash. Some 20,000 Euromaidan protesters 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 Yanukovych was elected president in 2010. The police blocked their path. The confrontation turned violent; the BBC reported that each side blamed the other. The 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. The protesters fought back with crude weapons, firearms, and improvised explosives. At least 82 people were killed over the next few days and more than 1,100 people were injured.

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

On 22 February, the protesters were reported to be in control of Kiev, and Yanukovych was said to have fled the capital for eastern Ukraine. The parliament voted 328–0 in favour of impeaching Yanukovych and scheduled new presidential elections for 25 May.

On 23 February, Parliament deputy Oleh Lyashko claimed that Yanukovych had been seen at the Russian naval base in Sevastopol, preparing to flee the country on board a Russian military vessel.

On 24 February, acting Interior Minister Avakov announced that Yanukovych had been placed on the country’s most wanted list and that “a criminal case on mass killings of civilians has been opened” for him and other officials.

On 25 February, Parliament asked the International Criminal Court to “establish and bring to justice” senior Ukrainian officials, including Yanukovych, for crimes against humanity committed during “peaceful protests of citizens” from 21 November 2013 to 22 February 2014. On the same day, Yanukovych and Zakharchenko were declared internationally wanted. Criminal proceedings were launched in the 20 February killings of Euromaidan demonstrators.

Following the Ukrainian revolution, a secession crisis began in the Russian-leaning Crimean Peninsula. On 1 March 2014, Yanukovych put into writing his request that President Putin of Russia send military forces “to establish legitimacy, peace, law and order, stability and defending the people of Ukraine”. On the same day, Putin requested and received authorization from the Russian Parliament to deploy troops to Ukraine in response to the crisis. Russian troops accordingly mobilized throughout Crimea and the southeast of Ukraine. By 2 March, Russian troops had complete control over Crimea. The territory was annexed by the Russian Federation on 18 March 2014. The crisis is still ongoing.

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An explanation of what’s happening in the Ukraine (via imgur)

In November 2013, after 5 years of talks, Ukraine and the European Union were about to sign a historical agreement to create a free-trade zone between Ukraine and the European Union in exchange for reforms in the political and legal system to make Ukraine a more democratic country.

The president, Viktor Yanukovych, suddendly decided to stop the talks and cancel the agreement on November 20, 2013. Viktor Yanukovych made international news in 2011 when he ordered Yulia Tymoshenko to prison. Yulia Tymoshenkothe, the former prime minister, had just lost the 2010 presidential elections against Viktor Yanukovych and was sent to prison for 7 years for allegedly making disadvantageous natural gas agreements with Russia. Several members of her former government were charged with various crimes and imprisoned in what appeared to be political vindication.

Many Ukrainians want their country to have closer relations with the European Union and fear Russian influence. After all, Ukraine has only been an independent country since December 1991, when the Soviet bloc collapsed.

Since November 2013, the protests did not stop. The president ordered harsh police repression of the protests, people built barricades and things got worse and worse.

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“Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”

That’s a text message that thousands of Ukrainian protesters simultaneously received on their cell phones on 2014-01-20, as a new law passed on 2014-01-16 prohibiting public demonstrations went into effect. The law carries a 15-year prison sentence if broken.