Maidan Nezalezhnosti (February 2014)

Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said that the conflict had been provoked by a "non-Ukrainian" third party and that an investigation was ongoing.
Protests originally erupted in November 2013 after Yanukovych refused to sign a political association and free trade agreement with the  EU.

The perception that Yanukovych was trying to establish closer ties with Russia played a major role in the protests.

Following the warning, the police advanced on thousands of protesters on  Independence Square with guns, a water cannon, and an armored personnel carrier. Tents housing protesters were burning on the main square.

On 19 February, a military An-26 made a secret flight from Kiev to Russia to pick up a large batch of anti-riot weapons and ammunition; this only became known in 2015.

Protesters were arriving "from all parts of Ukraine". About 5,000 remained on the square.Right Sector occupied the Kiev Central Post Office and the State Committee for Television and Radio, with the post office serving as a new headquarters.

After the first day of clashes, 26 people were reported dead: 16 protesters and 10 police officers. Those hospitalised included three minors, five journalists, and 79 police officers. According to an honored doctor of Ukraine Olga Bogomolets  "snipers were aiming at heart, lungs and neck".

On 22 February, Yulia Tymoshenko was released from prison and addressed more than 100,000 people on Independence Square.

On 24 February Parliament decided to release all political prisoners and terminated the powers of five judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, appointed from Parliament's quota, for violating their oath.

On 25 February Yanukovych and Zakharchenko were declared internationally wanted.

The Ukrainian National Council for TV and Radio Broadcasting instructed all cable operators on 11 March to stop transmitting a number of Russian channels, including the international versions of the main state-controlled stations.

On 25 February, acting Interior Minister Avakov signed a decree dissolving the  Berkut -special police within the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Between 70 and 100 protesters had been killed by 17:30 on 20 February.On 31 March 2014, the  Daily Beast  published photos and videos showing that the snipers were members of the SBU's "anti-terrorist" Alpha unit who had been trained in Russia. The media suggested that it was not the Ukrainian riot police who fired on the protesters, as previously believed, although the members of the Alpha team are Ukrainian citizens.

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.


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