In the autumn of 2013, Ukraine’s then-President, Viktor Yanukovych decides to strengthen ties with Russia instead of signing the promised association agreement with the European Union. Public indignation is enormous: for five months angry citizens occupy Maidan Nezalezhnosti; the Independence Square in the centre of Kyiv, after which the protests are called Euromaidan. What starts as a pro-European Union demonstration quickly turns into a public indictment of the country’s corrupt politics. The whole world is watching Kyiv. In the spring of 2014, Yanukovych gives riot police permission to open fire on protestors. Maidan’s hopeful blue-yellow turns the bleakest shade of red. About one hundred people are killed.
On 22 February 2014, the parliament votes to dismiss President Yanukovych. The current president Petro Poroshenko, who supported the anti-government protests of Euromaidan from the first day, comes to power. Russia does not acknowledge Kyiv’s new government. Also, in the South-East, where the majority of the population are Russian speakers, there is strong opposition to the new government. Riots break out.
A few days later, Russian troops occupy the Crimean Peninsula. A military conflict between pro-Russian separatists - supported by the Russian Army - and the Ukrainian Army erupts in the eastern Donbass region. The war has already cost more than 10 000 people’s lives. Even though the fights continue up until today, international attention has faded.