After the breakup of the Soviet Union, Ukraine endured years of corruption, mismanagement, lack of economic growth, currency devaluation, and problems to secure funding from public markets. Successive Ukrainian governments in the 2000s sought a relationship with the European Union. One of the measures meant to achieve this was an agreement with the European Union. President Yanukovych announced his intention to sign the agreement, but ultimately refused to do so at the last minute and this sparked a wave of protests called the Euromaidan movement. During these protests Yanukovych signed a treaty and multibillion-dollar loan with Russia, the Ukrainian security forces cracked down on the protesters, further inflaming the situation and resulting in a series of violent clashes in the streets of Kiev. As tensions rose, Yanukovych fled to Russia and did not return, Russia refused to recognize the new interim government, calling the revolution a coup détat, and began a military intervention in Ukraine. The International Monetary Fund pledged more than $18 billion in loans contingent on Ukraines adopting those reforms, a period of relative calm in the anti-government demonstrations in Kiev ended abruptly on 18 February 2014, when protesters and police clashed. At least 82 people were killed over the few days, including 13 policemen. The confrontation turned violent, the BBC, citing correspondents, reported that each side blamed the other, the police fired guns with both rubber bullets and, later, live ammunition, while also using tear gas and flash grenades in an attempt to repel thousands of demonstrators. The protesters fought with weapons, firearms, and improvised explosives. Police officers stormed the main protest camp on Maidan Nezalezhnosti and overran parts of the square, the Trade Unions Building, which served as the Euromaidan headquarters, was burned down. Political commentators suggested that Ukraine was on the brink of a civil war, some areas, including Lviv Oblast, declared themselves politically independent of the central government. On 19 February, the authorities instituted police checkpoints, restrictions on public transportation, and school closures in Kiev, 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 toll in 48 hours of clashes rose to at least 77. Parliament also suspended Zakharchenko from his duties, on 21 February, President Yanukovych signed a compromise deal with opposition leaders. It promised constitutional changes to certain powers to Parliament and called for early elections to be held by December. On 21 February, an impeachment bill was introduced in Parliament, on the same day, Yanukovych left for Kharkiv to attend a summit of southeastern regions, according to media reports. On 22 February, the protesters were reported to be in control of Kiev, the parliament, or Verkhovna Rada, voted 328–0 in favour of impeaching Yanukovych and scheduled new presidential elections for 25 May
Protesters fighting government forces on Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kiev on 18 February 2014.
Overview of the occupation of central Kiev by protestors in early February 2014
Crowds of protesters at a mass rally on Independence Square in Kiev.