The children in Ukraine start school at the
age of six or seven, depending on their parents'
choices. The school duty is valid for nine years,
divided into two stages of four and five years
respectively. In 2018, the two-year upper secondary
school has been extended to three years, and the same
applies to the alternative vocational secondary school.
Those who were in one of the grades 9–11 when the
reform work began may continue their studies under the
Allcitypopulation: Offers a list of biggest cities in the state of
Ukraine, including the capital city which hosts major colleges and
Country facts of Ukraine, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
More than half of the children go to preschool before
starting regular school. The preschool is free of
charge. Even before the law change on extended
schooling, almost all students read at least a couple of
years after the nine-year compulsory school, either at
study preparatory colleges or in vocational schools.
The schools are financed half of the state and half
of the municipalities. There are also private schools,
some with religious orientation. By law, minority groups
must have the right to education in their own language.
During the war in eastern Ukraine that erupted in
2014, by 2016 hundreds of schools had been destroyed
according to Human Rights Watch. It was said to have
been mainly due to the fact that both the army and
separatist forces used schools as places of work.
The Ukrainian education system is sometimes
criticized for being too theoretically oriented and, in
particular, the universities are described as being
permeated by corruption, as are many other parts of
society. According to several investigations, it is
possible to buy approved grades and entire degrees.
Since independence in 1991, Ukrainian literature and
history have had a prominent place in teaching. During
the Soviet era (1922–1991), more than half of the
students were taught Russian. In 2012, the proportion of
pupils who were taught in Ukrainian was 82 percent.
There are also schools with teaching in Romanian,
Hungarian, Moldavian and Tatar.
The issue of language - especially the position of
the Ukrainian and Russian respectively - has been
spurred by the political conflict with Russian
annexation of the Crimean peninsula and Russian support
to Moscow-friendly separatists in eastern Ukraine. In
2017, it was stipulated that all school education in
Ukraine's schools from grade five onwards should be
given in Ukrainian from 2020, with minority languages
possible as an option.
Ukraine has a dozen universities and over a hundred
colleges. The Kyiv-Mohyla Academy National University,
dating from the 17th century, opened in 1992 as the
first private university in Ukraine. The university
played a prominent role in the 2004 orange revolution
(see Modern History). The oldest continuously operating
university was founded in 1661 in Lviv, western Ukraine.
In early 2015, Parliament passed a law requiring
universities to be independent of the state and, among
other things, responsible for their own economy.
FACTS - EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary
92.4 percent (2014)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary
Reading and writing skills
100.0 percent (2012)
Public expenditure on education as a
percentage of GDP
12.4 percent (2016)
Public expenditure on education as a
percentage of the state budget
12.4 percent (2016)
2014 catastrophic for the economy
The governor notes that the Ukrainian economy shrank by 7.5 percent in 2014,
that the inflation rate reached over 20 percent and that the hryvnia had lost
half its value against Western currencies. She describes 2014 as the worst year
for Ukraine since World War II. Just before that, Parliament has adopted a tight
state budget for 2015 with increased taxes on imported goods and reduced social
Well over 1,000 killed during "ceasefire"
According to the UN, until December 12, fighting in eastern Ukraine has
claimed 4,707 human lives, of which 1,357 have been killed since the ceasefire
formally entered into force on September 5. In a UN report, harsh criticism is
directed at both the separatists and the government army for causing great
suffering to the civilian population. Already in mid-November, the number of
internally displaced persons was reportedly approaching half a million.
Economic reforms are approved
Approves the government's economic reform program, which includes, among
other things, a new tax system, increased energy prices and privatization of
state-owned enterprises; The reforms are a prerequisite for new support loans
from the IMF, the EU and others.
Pro-Western parties form government
The five pro-Western parties in Parliament form a coalition government.
Together, by a good margin, they have a two-thirds majority, which allows them
to make changes to the constitution. The new coalition sets its main goal for
Ukraine to join NATO. Parliament approves a new government led by Arsenij
Jatsenjuk, which Parliament has already given at the end of November clear to
continue as prime minister. Former Deputy Prime Minister Volodymyr Hrojsman has
been elected President. Among the new ministers are three foreign citizens:
American Natalie Jaresko (of Ukrainian origin) becomes Minister of Finance,
Lithuanian Aivaras Abromavičius becomes Minister of Economy and Georgian
Alexander Kvitashvili becomes Minister of Health. President Poroshenko issues a
decreewhich gives the three Ukrainian citizenship. The decision to take
foreigners into heavy ministerial posts is seen as an attempt to win the
public's confidence in the government's ambition to deal with the corruption
that has permeated the Ukrainian state administration since independence.
Criticism against Russia at G20 meeting
The conflict in Ukraine has plenty of room at the so-called G20 countries
summit in Australia. A number of leaders in Western countries have harshly
criticized the Russian warfare and threatened with escalated sanctions. Russian
President Putin leaves the meeting prematurely.
Reports on Russian military march
The Ukrainian military command states that two Russian military columns have
crossed the border into Luhansk county with dozens of tanks, hubs, squadron
vehicles and mobile radar stations. The OSCE confirms that its observers have
seen a large number of heavily equipped military vehicles without registration
plates in rebel-controlled areas. In the million town of Donetsk, the fighting
continues as they have done all the time since the "ceasefire" came into force
just over two months earlier.
Payment of gas debt to Russia
Ukraine makes a first installment of the equivalent of US $ 1.45 billion of
its debt totaling US $ 3.1 billion to the Russian gas company Gazprom. The
entire sum must be paid before the turn of the year for Ukraine to receive gas
from Russia throughout 2015.
Breakout provinces should be financially strangled
Prime Minister Jatsenjuk announces that the state will cancel the budget
support for Donetsk and Luhansk. Only supplies of gas and electricity to the
rebel areas will continue. Shortly thereafter, President Poroshenko orders that
all state service be withdrawn into the separatist-controlled areas, where in
practice the ceasefire has completely collapsed and the fighting daily demands
life. Schools, hospitals and emergency services operated by state funds must be
Contested elections in the east
"Elections" are conducted in the "People's Republics" Donetsk and Luhansk.
The Ukrainian government, like the US and the EU, condemns the events as
illegal, as a violation of the ceasefire agreement on 5 September and as a
barrier to a peaceful solution to the conflict. Separatist leaders Aleksandr
Zacharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky are elected "presidents" of Donetsk and
Luhansk, respectively, with about 79 and 63 percent of the vote. The Russian
government says that the result of the vote expresses the will of the people of
southeastern Ukraine and that the two "people's republics" now have a mandate to
negotiate directly with the government in Kiev and that the government should
interrupt military action against the separatists.
Parliamentary elections provide clear majority for EU-friendly parties
When the new election is held, Petro Poroshenko's block becomes by far the
largest, with a total of 132 of the 450 seats. When the votes on the party lists
are counted, Prime Minister Jatsenjuks People's Front looks about the same, but
in the direct elections Petro Poroshenko's block receives by far the greatest
support. The public front has a total of 82 seats. The newly started pro-Western
Party Self-Confidence gets 33 seats. The opposition bloc, formed by supporters
of ousted President Yanukovych, gets a total of 29 seats, while the populist
Radical Party gets 22 and Julia Tymoshenko's Motherland gets 19. The Communist
Party leaves Parliament for the first time since Ukraine became independent in
1991. Even right-wing extremist Svoboda misses 5-percent block stay in
parliament thanks to the direct elections and get 6 seats. The right sector gets
a candidate directly elected, which three more small batches succeed. 96
candidates without party affiliation will also have a seat in Parliament. All 12
mandates for Crimea become vacant, as do 15 districts (out of a total of 27) in
the Donetsk and Luhansk counties, where no election can be carried out.
New anti-corruption laws
Parliament adopts a series of laws designed to counteract the corruption that
has permeated society since independence and which is considered to have
deteriorated significantly under Yanukovych's rule. All government office staff,
the judiciary and the police must declare their own and their families' assets
and financial transactions. In addition, the National Prosecutor's Office will
be reformed so that the authority can no longer, according to Soviet tradition,
be used to harass oppositionists.
Russian economic threats
Putin writes in a letter to Poroshenko that Ukraine will be shut down from
most of the Russian market if the FTA with the EU ever comes into force. The
Russian Minister of Energy says that EU countries' contracts with Russia do not
give them the right to re-export Russian gas to Ukraine. If they do, they risk
interrupting deliveries from Russia. The first EU country to succumb to Russian
pressures is Hungary, which has been openly skeptical of EU sanctions on Russia.
Prime Minister Orbán says the country cannot risk being without gas during the
winter. Formally, however, technical problems are referred to when deliveries to
Ukraine are stopped.
The breakers are offered self-government
The Ukrainian Parliament adopts far-reaching self-government laws for parts
of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The "special position" area is granted for
three years. But the dominant attitude is that the rebels accept nothing less
than a total break with Ukraine.
Armistice is entered into but is broken quickly
Following OSCE- mediated negotiations in Minsk, the Ukrainian government and
the rebels on September 5 agree on a ceasefire to be followed by prisoner
exchange. The OSCE is assigned the task of monitoring the ceasefire. The
ceasefire was broken almost immediately under mutual accusations as to which
side began to shoot. Two weeks later, the Ukrainian government, Russia, the
separatists and the OSCE sign a new agreement to strengthen the ceasefire.
Over a million in flight
UNHCR raises the number of homeless Ukrainians to almost 1.1 million. 814,000
have sought protection in Russia and at least 260,000 are on refuge within
Ukraine. Many more thousands have moved to other neighboring countries and to
Army on Retreat; charges of Russian invasion
The Ukrainian army is forced to retreat from the airport outside Luhansk,
which is attacked by what President Poroshenko describes as a Russian tank
battalion. Poroshenko accuses Russia of "direct and open aggression". According
to the Minister of Defense, regular Russian associations are now in both Luhansk
and Donetsk. He says that Ukraine is now facing a major war that could cost tens
of thousands of people's lives. Since the rebels went on the offensive, nearly
700 Ukrainian soldiers have been captured.
Russian interference creates conflict with the EU
President Putin calls for urgent negotiations on how to organize society and
state government politically in southeastern Ukraine. This is the first time he
has openly indicated an ambition to create some kind of Russian sound state in
New elections are announced
President Poroshenko announces new elections to Parliament because a solution
to the government crisis that failed in July failed to find a solution.
Poroshenko also points to the problems of implementing reforms as long as many
supporters of the ousted President Yanukovych remain in parliament.
Russian aid column across the border without permission
After waiting for just over a week on the Russian side of the border, a
Russian column of 280 trucks drives into Ukraine without getting a Kiev sign.
The Ukrainian security service chief accuses Russia of an invasion but says no
force should be used against the vehicles. President Poroshenko talks about "a
flagrant violation of international law". The Russian intrusion is condemned in
sharp terms by, among others, NATO and the US, which require the trucks to be
withdrawn. As soon as they unload their cargo in Luhansk, they also return to
Russian TV is blocked
The government turns off 14 Russian TV channels from the Ukrainian cable
network. The reason is that the broadcasts contained Russian "war propaganda".
Most channels are operated by the Russian state or by companies with close ties
to the Russian leadership.
Refugee column is being fired
At least 17 civilians are killed when a bus column of Luhansk refugees is
shot down with rockets. The army and the rebels blame each other. In Luhansk,
street battles erupt in the center and in Donetsk the war reaches the center as
well. Large civil losses are reported.
Ukrainians gain power in Donetsk
As more and more Russian citizens take over the leading political and
military positions in the rebel movements in eastern Ukraine, a native
Ukrainian, Aleksandr Zacharchenko, joins as "Prime Minister" in Donetsk. The
formal change of power is supposed to be an attempt to strike back at those in
the outside world who claim that Russian forces are behind the revolt.
The government is rocking
The parties Svoboda and Udar leave the government coalition to force new
elections to Parliament. The parties point out that supporters of the ousted
President Yanukovych sabotage Parliament's activities. Udar has supported the
coalition without having any ministerial posts.
Journalists live dangerously
During the first six months of the year, Ukraine has been the world's most
dangerous country for journalists, according to statistics from the
international media organization INSI. Seven reporters and assistants have been
killed. Reporters Without Borders says that more and more journalists are also
being captured in eastern Ukraine. The organization accuses both separatists and
the army of being behind the arrests.
Malaysian airliner is shot down, Russian responsibility is suspected
All 298 people on board are killed when a Malaysian passenger plane en route
from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashes in eastern Ukraine. It takes place a few
miles from the Russian border, in a rebel-controlled area where Prorussian
separatists have previously shot down Ukrainian military planes. After three
days of deliberations, the UN Security Council agrees on a sharply worded
resolutioncondemning the shooting down of the Malaysian plane, demanding free
access to the area of international casualties and urging all countries to
cooperate with the investigators. Russia agrees with the resolution after
passing through its demand that the investigation be led by the United Nations
Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) instead of the Ukrainian state. The rebels
now agree to observe the ceasefire in the disaster area and hand over the
planet's "black boxes" to international casualty investigators. Dutch crash
investigators later state that the aircraft was hit by "a large number of
objects which violently penetrated the plane's hull". According to
investigators, there is no indication of any technical error on the plane or
that the crew made a mistake.
EU sanctions are being expanded
The EU places another eleven of the highest leaders of the pro-Russian
separatists on its sanctions list. The list now includes a total of 72 people
and two companies that are considered to threaten Ukraine's cohesion.
Stronger conflict around Donetsk
The army suffers one of its most severe individual losses when 23 soldiers
are killed and nearly 100 are injured by a rocket fired by separatists near the
Russian border. The battles surrounding Donetsk are fiercer and 70,000 residents
are said to have left the city.
Liechtenstein barred money
Liechtenstein blocks around $ 30 million invested in the country by former
Ukrainian President Yanukovych and people in his inner circle. An investigation
into money laundering is added to the Principality.
The cooperation agreement with the EU is signed
Together with the other two former Soviet republics of Georgia and Moldova,
Ukraine signs the June 27 Association Agreement. The agreement gradually gives
Ukrainian export companies free access to the EU market and also means that the
country receives technical and economic development support. In return, Ukraine
pledges to live up to the EU's demands for respect for democracy and human
rights, the fight against corruption, a strengthened legal society and a
reformed economic system. The Moscow government is commenting on the agreement
in Brussels that Russia reserves the right to countermeasures should it harm the
Russian gas deliveries are stopped
Russia suspends gas deliveries to Ukraine since attempts to mediate through
the EU if the price failed. However, Russian Gazprom says that deliveries via
Ukraine to other European countries will continue.
The government takes Mariupol back
After fierce fighting, government forces regain control of the port city of
Mariupol. President Poroshenko appoints Mariupol as temporary regional capital
instead of Donetsk, ruled by rebels.
Boxing mayor in Kiev
In the local elections in Kiev, held at the same time as the presidential
election, former boxing world champion Vitalij Klytjko is elected mayor of the
capital. His party Udar gets his own majority in the city council.
Poroshenko is elected president
Company leader Petro Poroshenko wins the presidential election in the first
round with 54.5 percent of the vote. In second place is former Prime Minister
Yulia Tymoshenko with just under 13 percent. According to the Election
Commission, turnout is around 60 percent. The OSCE considers that the election
"largely corresponds to democratic norms" and that it gives Poroshenko
legitimacy. The election result is a major setback to Russian propaganda that
the revolt against the former regime was dominated by Nazis and fascists. The
two candidates for the right-wing extremists Svoboda and the Right Sector
together receive less than two percent of the vote, clearly fewer than the
Ukrainian representative's main representative.
"Referendum" in the east
Separatists carry out a "referendum" in about ten cities ruled by pro-Russian
activists in the Donetsk and Luhansk counties. In Donetsk, almost 90 percent of
the participants said they voted yes to self-government, while just over 96
percent should have voted yes in Luhansk. Donetsk voter turnout is reported to
have been close to 75 percent. The Kiev government condemns the "referendum" as
a pure father inspired by Russia in its quest to destabilize Ukraine and dismiss
the country's government.
Struggles in Mariupol
In the port city of Mariupol near the Russian border, 20 separatists and a
policeman are killed in fighting between pro-Russian rebels and the Ukrainian
military. The gunfire must have erupted since army soldiers and a domestic force
arrived at the city's police headquarters that a group of separatists tried to
Right-wing militia should support the government
A new semi-military volunteer force is formed to be deployed to the
separatists in the east. The force is named Azov Battalion and has a strong
right-wing nationalist profile. Many of the hundreds who join have the closest
Death after riots in Odessa
The conflict spreads to Odessa in southwestern Ukraine, where clashes between
nationalist and pro-Russian protesters occur. At least 42 people are killed.
Most victims are required inside a union building that is set on fire. The
government dismisses the leadership of the local police after letting a
pro-Russian crowd release 67 people arrested after the riots.
Separatists take over eastern cities
Pro-Russian separatists occupy police headquarters, town halls and other
official buildings in more and more eastern cities. In at least a dozen major
cities, the Kiev government has virtually no influence. In most cases, the local
police are completely passive to the storms of the buildings. Acting President
Turtynov says the army is in full combat preparedness for a feared Russian
invasion, but that the government is "helpless" in the face of continued
Observers are taken hostage by separatists
Eight unarmed military observers from the OSCE, including a Swedish major,
are taken hostage with Ukrainian aides by separatists in Slovjansk. The
Separatists accuse them of being a spy for NATO. The OSCE sends a new delegation
to negotiate a release. The Swede is released after two days for health reasons.
The others are released after just over a week.
The United States marks support for Ukraine
US Vice President Joe Biden visits Kiev to show support for the Provisional
Ukrainian Government. The United States offers Ukraine $ 50 million in aid for
economic and political reform, of which 11 million will help fund the
presidential election. In addition, military, "non-lethal" equipment - including
communications equipment and vehicles - is offered for $ 8 million.
New EU support
EU foreign ministers approve a new € 1 billion aid package to help Ukraine
get its balance of payments organized. They also decide to lower tariffs on
Ukrainian export goods, which could save the country almost half a billion euros
Reform laws are passed
Parliament adopts a law governing state procurement. According to the
government, about 40 percent of the money intended for government purchases has
been wasted in recent years. The Procurement Act is one of the last conditions
for Ukraine to be supported by the IMF. Previously, Parliament passed laws
against corruption, allowed the currency to flow freely and raised the price of
gas for households.
Rebellion in eastern Ukraine
The security service claims to have arrested 15 people who are supposed to
have prepared an armed revolt in the eastern Luhansk region. A greater quantity
of weapons must have been seized. In Luhansk, Donetsk and Kharkiv, the central
government buildings are stormed by pro-Russian protesters. In Donetsk, the
activists proclaim the "Soviet People's Republic of Donetsk" and urge Russia to
send a "peacekeeping" force to the area. They also demand a referendum on
accession to Russia. The Ukrainian government is accusing the Russian leadership
of trying to repeat the "Crimean scenario" and having plans to send military
across the border to "tear apart" Ukraine.
Voice figures in Crimea were false
The Russian Human Rights Council, appointed by Putin, reveals that the
official figures from the "referendum" in Crimea were false. The Council's
investigation shows that only 30-50 percent of the inhabitants of the Kremlin
participated in the vote, not 83 percent as claimed, and that only 50-60 per
cent of them voted for accession to Russia, not 97 percent. In total, only
15-30 percent of the inhabitants of the peninsula would have supported the
Russian annexation. The report is quickly removed from the Presidential Office's
website but remains on the Council's Internet site.
Russian gas significantly more expensive
Russian gas producer Gazprom announces that Ukraine will no longer be able to
buy gas at the reduced price agreed by Presidents Putin and Yanukovych in
December. In a couple of days the price is raised twice, by a total of 81
percent. The price increases are justified by Ukraine's inability to pay off
debt from 2013. Gazprom demands immediate payment of USD 2.2 billion. The
government refuses to accept the increase.
The UN condemns the "referendum" in Crimea
The UN General Assembly adopts a resolution condemning the Russian-supported
referendum in Crimea as illegal. The resolution is adopted by 100 votes against
11 and 58 abstentions. As a result, the entire UN system will continue to regard
Crimea as part of Ukraine.
Foreign loans with counterclaim
The IMF provisionally grants a US $ 14-18 billion loan. With estimated loans
from various governments and other financial institutions, the total support for
the next two years can amount to $ 27 billion. The loans require basic economic
reforms in Ukraine, primarily a market-driven exchange rate, higher energy
prices and a restructuring of the energy company Naftogaz.
OSCE observers to Ukraine
The OSCE decides to send civilian observers to Ukraine, up to 100 people, but
up to 500 if needed. By the end of the month, Western experts estimate that
around 30,000 Russian soldiers are in combat readiness near Ukraine's eastern
Russian annexation of Crimea is completed
The rapid Russian annexation of Crimea is completed when President Putin
signs a document. In less than a day, both chambers of the Russian parliament
have approved the incorporation of the Ukrainian peninsula into Russia. Russian
forces have continued to occupy Ukrainian military posts and the Ukrainian
government will soon order total evacuation of all military and their families
Ukraine concludes political agreement with EU
Prime Minister Jatsenjuk writes in Brussels during the political part of the
association agreement with the EU that Yanukovych rejected in November. The
agreement ties Ukraine closer to the EU and, among other things, gives the
country duty relief worth close to half a billion euros for trade in a range of
agricultural products, textiles and other goods.
The EU and the US face sanctions
Both the EU and the US are responding to the referendum in Crimea with
targeted sanctions on individuals, in Crimea and in Russia.
Unrest in eastern Ukraine
Following Donetsk clashes between pro-Russian and anti-Russian groups, the
Moscow Foreign Ministry says Russia reserves the right to "protect Russian life"
throughout Ukraine, as the Kiev government "does not have the situation under
control". US and Russia's foreign ministers make an unsuccessful attempt to come
to a peaceful solution to the crisis, after which Russia vetoes a US resolution
proposal in the UN Security Council to declare the referendum illegal. Thirteen
countries vote for the resolution and China abstains. Only Russia is opposed,
and appears to be increasingly internationally isolated. Meanwhile, Russia is
reported to continue bringing troops and military equipment to Crimea.
Crimea declares itself "independent"
The local parliament in Crimea is voting for the peninsula to break away from
Ukraine and join Russia. This is already happening before an internationally
criticized referendum on the issue held at the end of the month, in which close
to 97 percent of voters vote yes.
International condemnation of Russia
The Russian action in Crimea, where 16,000 soldiers are reported to have led,
triggers intensive international diplomatic activity in, for example, the EU,
NATO, OSCE and the US. Russia is strongly and unanimously condemned for
violations of international law and a number of agreements signed by the
country, including the 1994 Budapest Memorandum (see Foreign Policy and Defense)
which provided a guarantee of Ukraine's territorial integrity. The EU and the
United States offer Ukraine financial support.
Highest preparedness after Russian threat
After Russian President Putin, after a few days of escalating war, has been
signaled by the Russian parliament to intervene militarily in Ukraine, where
"the lives of Russians are threatened", the Ukrainian government speaks out on a
declaration of war and continues to provide combat forces in supreme readiness.
The Ministry of Defense prepares general mobilization and Prime Minister
Jatsenjuk appeals to NATO, and in particular the United States and the United
Kingdom, for concrete support. The two latter states are co-guarantors of
Ukraine's security under a 1994 agreement with Russia.
Russian takeover of the Crimea
The local Crimean parliament dismisses the regional government and appoints a
new administration led by Sergei Aksionov from the Russian unity party.
According to customary standards, the government of Kiev appoints the Crimean
local government. Crimean parliament also votes to hold a local referendum on
May 25, the same day as the Ukrainian presidential election, on the peninsula's
political position. A few days later, the referendum is scheduled for March 30.
Russian language of power in Crimea
In the Russian-dominated Crimea peninsula, tensions are rising and there are
demonstrations of independence from Ukraine. The Russian flag is hoisted at
official buildings in the largest cities and the Simferopol local parliament is
occupied by heavily armed men. The Kiev government accuses Russia of being
behind armed men taking control of two airports in Crimea. The Russian
government denies that Russian soldiers are active in Crimea and says it is
about local self-defense forces in private uniforms.
New government is formed
Parliament approves a new government to lead the country until a new
president is elected. The Provisional Government is headed by Arsenij Jatsenjuk
of the Fosterlands Party. The government is dominated by the Fatherland and
party-bound academics, but several prominent activists from the protest movement
are given assignments in the government, as is the right-wing nationalist
Russia breaks with Ukraine
The Russian government announces that all financial support for Ukraine will
be suspended until further notice. Russia's ambassador is called home from Kiev.
Russian condemnations of rising "nationalism and neo-fascism" in western Ukraine
are accompanied by Russian troops in the immediate area being alerted. Over
150,000 men, fighter jets and armor will participate in a military maneuver
announced in western Russia, near the Ukrainian border.
Opposition takes over
In the president's absence, so many of his allies leave the ruling party that
the opposition gets a strong majority in parliament. They vote to oust
Yanukovych and release Tymoshenko, who immediately flies back to Kiev. The
presidential election is scheduled for May 25. One of Tymoshenko's allies,
Oleksandr Turtjynov, is elected President and temporarily also holds the
position of President. The army, the police and the security service soon
declare solidarity with the new leadership.
The president flies in spite of a new election and assembly government
After one night's talks with opposition leaders and EU representatives,
Yanukovych concludes an agreement with the opposition leaders, which means,
among other things, that a unifying government should be appointed, elections
should be made and a new constitution written. But the message is received with
skepticism among many activists at Independence Square, who demand that
Yanukovych resign immediately and that elections should be held even before the
summer. The president disappears and moves to eastern Ukraine where his support
is strongest. His office and residence are placed unattended and taken over by
the activists. A week later, Yanukovych shows up in Russia.
Police intervention triggers massacre of protesters
The most serious unrest so far is when riot police are preventing protesters
from entering Parliament. Over two days, over 80 people are killed. The regime
describes the activists as "terrorists" and the war of words is escalating.
President Yanukovych replaces the army chief and the Defense Ministry says it is
considering deploying soldiers in "anti-terrorist operations" around the
country. The Deputy Army Commander resigns in protest against plans to deploy
the army against civilians.
Continued Russian pressure
The opposition keeps the pressure on the regime. About 70,000 people
demonstrate in Kiev on the second Sunday of the month. President Yanukovych
visits the Winter Olympics in Russian Sochi, where he holds individual
discussions with Vladimir Putin. The Ukrainian leadership is also under pressure
from Russia, which holds a second installment of the promised credit of $ 15
billion. So far, only 3 billion have been paid out. Russia demands, among other
things, to first get paid for natural gas delivered to Ukraine. The bill is $
The crisis deeper and deeper
Demonstrations against the government continue with tens of thousands of
participants. In the middle of the month, Parliament adopts laws that make it
more difficult for government-critical protests in Kiev: to ban tenting without
a permit or to set up public speaking facilities. A law also makes it easier to
apprehend suspected MPs. Laws trigger new mass protests, and violent clashes
take place in central Kiev. Several protesters are killed and hundreds injured
in clashes with police. Negotiations between Yanukovych and the three opposition
leaders produce no results. Both the EU and the US warn of "consequences" unless
Yanukovych causes the violence to be stopped. Russia accuses the Western powers
of interference in Ukraine's internal affairs. At the end of the month, the
newly introduced anti-protest laws will be lifted on a proposal by President
Yanukovych at a parliamentary crisis meeting. At the same time, Prime Minister
Mykola Azarov and his government are submitting their resignation. Azarov is
temporarily replaced by Deputy Prime Minister Serhi Arbuzov. Azarov's decision
is welcomed by the opposition, which has long demanded the resignation of the