2014: How the Ukraine Crisis Began
Novinite's team is publishing brief daily comments about how 2014 unfolded in Bulgaria and elsewhere.
The events in Ukraine threaten to turn into the most serious crisis that the world has faced in years.
Its origins can be traced back to the beginning of the Maidan protests in Kiev against the termination of the negotiations for association with the EU and the regime of President Viktor Yanukovych in November 2013. The end of the conflict still seems distant.
At the beginning of 2014 the protests escalated into clashes between security forces and demonstrators.
In February the police opened fire against the protesters, which resulted in the death of 80 people.
President Yanukovych declared that he could accept new elections and the restoration of the 2004 Constitution, but despite these measures the protests continued.
The Verkhovna Rada voted with majority in favour of ousting the president from office and the scheduling of early elections for May 25.
Yanukovych went underground, later it became clear that he had fled to Russia.
The Verkhovna Rada proclaimed on February 22 Oleksandr Turchynov as Acting President and Arsneniy Yatsenyuk as interim Prime Minister.
Meanwhile Russian President Vladimir Putin issued an order for large-scale military manoeuvre at the border with Ukraine.
Following clashes between supporters and opponents of the new government in Kiev, pro-Russian militias occupied the seat of government and the parliamentary building in the Crimean capital Simferopol.
The rest is still threatening to spiral into what experts describe as a "frozen conflict", with both the West and Russia fighting a propaganda war in which no-one seems to emerge as a winner.
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