2013/11: Yanukowych rejects EU
- Wikipedia: Viktor Yanukovych
- Wikipedia: Eurasian Customs Union
- Wikipedia: Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement
Yanukovych rejected a pending EU association agreement, choosing instead to pursue a Russian loan bailout and closer ties with Russia.
This led to protests and the occupation of Kyiv’s Independence Square, a series of events dubbed the „Euromaidan“ by young pro-European Union Ukrainians. In January 2014, this developed into deadly clashes in Independence Square and in other areas across Ukraine, as Ukrainian citizens confronted the Berkut and other special police units.
In February 2014, Ukraine appeared to be on the brink of civil war, as violent clashes between protesters and special police forces led to many deaths and injuries.
On 21 February 2014, Yanukovych claimed that, after lengthy discussions, he had reached an agreement with the opposition.
Later that day, however, he left the capital for a speaking engagement in Kharkiv, coming under fire as he left Kyiv, and travelling next to Crimea, and eventually to exile in southern Russia.