Known as the Euromaidan – literally “Eurosquare” – the recent outbreak of anti-government protests that has rocked Kiev, and now surrounding cities, for the past few months has decade-long roots amid political infighting, charges of corruption, and the ongoing tensions of EU or Russian alliance.
21st November 2013: Thousands of opposition protesters gather in Kiev’s Independence Square (known as “Maidan”) to decry President Viktor Yanukovych failure to pass a major agreement that would strengthen ties with the EU, opting instead to seek closer cooperation with Moscow.
30th November 2013: Police launch a brutal attack on protesters, detaining 35 images of protesters bloodied by police truncheons spread quickly and galvanize public support for the demonstrators. A demonstration on December 1st attracts about 300,000 people, the largest protest in Kiev since the Orange Revolution in 2004.
17th December 2013: Russian President Vladimir Putin announces that Moscow will buy $17 billion worth of Ukrainian government bonds and allow for a sharp cut in the price Ukrainians will have to pay for Russian natural gas. Putin and Yanukovych claim that there were no conditions attached to the agreement, which did not require Ukraine to join a Russia-led free trade pact.
22nd January 2014: Two protesters die after being hit with live ammunition and the third after a fall during a confrontation between police and demonstrators manning barricades, the first protest deaths.
28th January 2014: Ukraine’s Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and the entire government resign, scrapping anti-protest laws, in the biggest concessions yet to protesters in a two-month crisis.
16th February 2014: Protestors leave Kiev’s city hall, after occupying the building since December 1 2013. Vacating public buildings formed part of the conditions to the Ukraine Government’s Amnesty Law. Under the amnesty detained protestors will be released and charges against them dropped. Protestors promise to retake city hall if the amnesty is not honoured.
18th February 2014: 18 are killed as Ukraine riot police attack the protest camp in Kiev’s Independence Square. After a 6pm deadline to leave the camp was not met, violence erupts as thousands of police storm the square. The death toll includes 11 protestors and 7 police. Ukrainian opposition leader Vitali Klitschko meets with President Viktor Yanukovich over the crisis.
October 2011: A court jails former Prime Minister and Orange Revolution joint leader Julia Tymoshenko for seven years after finding her guilty of abuse of power over a gas deal with Russia in 2009. EU warns Ukraine of “profound implications”; opposition leaders claim charges were politically motivated.
March 2011: Ex-President Leonid Kuchma is charged over the 2000 murder of journalist Georgiy Gongadze. He denies any part in the killing.
February 2010: Viktor Yanukovych is declared winner of second round of presidential election. His main rival, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, refuses to accept the result, alleging fraud.
January 2009: Russia stops all gas supplies to Ukraine after collapse of talks to end row over unpaid bills and prices, leading to shortages in southeast Europe. Supplies are restored a week later when Ukraine and Russia sign a 10-year deal on gas transit.
December 2007: Yulia Tymoshenko is appointed prime minister for the second time, in coalition with President Viktor Yushchenko’s party.
January 2005: Viktor Yushchenko is sworn in as president after Supreme Court rejects challenge by losing candidate Mr Yanukovych.
November 2004: Official count indicates presidential election victory for Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych. Western and other independent observers report widespread vote rigging. Opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko launches campaign of mass street protest and civil disobedience which becomes known as the ‘Orange Revolution’. Supreme Court later annuls result of poll.
April 2001: President Leonid Kuchma dismisses Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko’s government following a no-confidence vote in parliament. Mr Yushchenko was respected in the West for fighting corruption, pushing ahead with economic reforms and working to attract investment, but was unpopular with the pro-Moscow Kuchma, and powerful Ukrainian businessmen.
1997: Friendship treaty signed with Russia. Ukraine and Russia also reach agreement on the Black Sea fleet.
1991: Ukraine declares independence following attempted coup in Moscow: 90% vote for independence in nationwide referendum in December.
1986: A reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power station explodes, sending a radioactive plume across Europe. Desperate efforts are made to contain the damaged reactor within a huge concrete cover. Many armed forces personnel die of radiation sickness.
1954: Armed resistance to Soviet rule ends with defeat of Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA).
1945: Allied victory in World War II leads to conclusive Soviet annexation of western Ukrainian lands.
1941: Ukraine suffers terrible wartime devastation as Nazis occupy the country until 1944. More than 5 million Ukrainians die fighting Nazi Germany. Most of Ukraine’s 1.5 million Jews wiped out by the Nazis.
1932: Approximately 7 million peasants perish in man-made famine during Joseph Stalin’s collectivisation campaign.
1918: Ukraine declares independence: Ukrainian People’s Republic set up. Numerous rival governments vie for control for some or all of Ukraine during ensuing civil war.