Ukraine: chronology of a political and military conflict
- Ukraine is one of the most powerful countries emerged after the end of the USSR.
- President Yanukovych’s prorous tendency unleashed violent citizen protests that left dozens dead and his dismissal and flight.
- After taking over a provisional government the Russian armed forces deployed in the Crimea, the area of Ukraine where more ethnic Russians live.
- We review the main dates of the Ukrainian conflict.
Russian soldiers of the Marine Corps defend the Russian warship ‘Orsk’ anchored in the port of Sevastopol, Crimea, Ukraine. Maxim Shipenko / EFE
Shortly after the enactment of the amnesty law in Ukraine, the surroundings of the Supreme Rada (Parliament) in Kiev became the scene of violent clashes between protesters and riot police, with dozens killed and wounded on both sides.
Ukraine, after Russia the most powerful country emerged from the disintegration of the Soviet Union, has lived since November in the midst of citizen protests because of the discontent with the refusal of the authorities to sign an Association Agreement with the European Union ( EU).
After President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted by popular pressure and after taking over the provisional government, Russian troops entered the province of Crimea, claiming to defend the interests of the Russians residing there and securing their naval base in Sevastopol.
These are the main dates of this convulsive situation:
May 18: The first protests begin under the slogan “Stand Up Ukraine” against the management of President Viktor Yanukovych.
November 21: The opposition calls for rallies due to the government’s decision not to sign the Association Agreement with the EU and to strengthen its relations with Russia instead.
November 22: The Government holds the International Monetary Fund responsible for the decision, and criticizes the harsh demands to refinance credits granted to Ukraine in 2008 and 2010.
November 24: Great demonstration in Kiev under the slogan “Ukraine is Europe”.
November 26 : The EU keeps open the option of signing the association agreement, but rejects Kiev’s proposal to launch a three-way dialogue with Russia.
December 1 : After numerous demonstrations in the preceding days, tens of thousands of opponents take the Plaza de la Independencia and demand the resignation of Yanukovych and his Government. It is the most massive protest since the Orange Revolution of 2004.
December 8 : “March of the million” in Kiev: The crowd blocks the Government Quarter and knocks down a statue of Lenin.
December 17: Putin and Yanukovych are in Moscow an economic agreement , with the granting of economic aid and a substantial reduction in the price of gas supplied.
December 22 The political and citizen opposition creates the Maidan Popular Union and demands early elections and constitutional reform.
January 12 : Tens of thousands of people demand early elections from the symbolic Independence Square in Kiev.
January 15 : The opposition blocks the Rada (Parliament).
The protests, initially concentrated in the capital Kiev, have spread throughout the country From 19 to 22 January : The protest is radicalized by the repressive laws , according to the opposition, dictated by the Government. They go against freedom of concentration and expression.
January 24 : Alexander Popov, the mayor of the capital, Kiev , is dismissed.
January 26 : The protests spread throughout the country .
January 28: The Government of the Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov resigns. In addition, the Parliament repeals the “gag” laws and, the next day, approves the amnesty of the detainees in the protests.
January 31 : The Army urges Yanukovych to take urgent measures to stabilize the country.
6 of February : The Ukrainian Parliament agrees to agree on a project of constitutional reform that retakes the Magna Carta of 2004, abolished by Yanukovych.
February 16 : End of the occupation of the Kiev City Council and other administrative headquarters, after two and a half months demanding the release of the detainees in the popular protests.
February 17 : The amnesty law comes into force , which benefits the protesters arrested in the popular protests.
February 18: A new protest in which the protesters demanded the restitution of the 2004 Magna Carta ended clashes between the authorities and the demonstrators and left at least 26 dead, ten of them police and hundreds of wounded. Opponents set fire to the headquarters of the ruling party.
February 19: The Ukrainian riot police began to evict the Kiev Independence Square after the outbreak of violent disorder in the capital. President Viktor Yanukovich announced an anti-terrorist operation throughout the national territory to stop violent disorders. The cessation of the Chief of Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, General Vladimir Zaman, who had refused to mobilize the troops to put an end to the disorder is decreed.
February 20: A new clash between police and protesters leaves 21 dead, up to 35 according to some sources. The foreign ministers of the European Union reach a political agreement to impose sanctions on those responsible for violence and excessive use of force in Ukraine. The Minister of the Interior orders the delivery of combat weapons to the Ukrainian police.
February 21: Yanukovych signs an agreement with the three leaders of the parliamentary opposition for the holding of early presidential elections, the constitution of a government of national unity and a new constitution.
February 22: Yanukovich rules out resigning and describes the changes in Ukraine as “coup d’état”. The president makes his statements in Russian and from the city of Kharkiv, in the east of the country. That same day, the Ukrainian Legislature dismisses Yanukovych and his trail is lost, being unaccounted for.
23 of February: The parliament of the Ukraine designates like president in function of the country to Alexandr Turchinov, right hand of the ex- prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, that same day left the hospital of Kharkiv where it was imprisoned after decreeing the national Parliament its putting in freedom. Timoshenko was sentenced in 2011 to seven years in prison for abuse of power.
February 25: About one hundred riot police asked for forgiveness on their knees in the city of Lvov, in western Ukraine, and promised that they will always be with the Ukrainian people .
February 26: Acting Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avákov announced on Tuesday the dissolution of the riot police ‘Berkut’ (‘Eagle’), used in the repression of popular protests that led to the fall of the Viktor regime Yanukókich. The interim president of Ukraine, Turchinov, assumes the position of supreme head of the Armed Forces.
Thousands of supporters of Russia and Ukraine are demonstrating in front of the Supreme Rada (Parliament) of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, which is debating whether it supports the new authorities of Kiev . Three Ukrainian ex-presidents, Leonid Kravchuk, Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yushchenko, have denounced Russia’s intervention in the internal affairs of the country, particularly in the Crimea, with a Russian-speaking majority.
Russian President Vladimir Putin orders the alerting of military units in the west and center of the country to verify their readiness for combat , Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigú said.
The Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine issues an international search and arrest warrant against the dismissed President Viktor Yanukovych, who has been missing since Saturday, February 22. An international arrest warrant is also issued against the deposed Minister of the Interior , Vitali Zacharchenko, who allegedly gave the order to suppress opposition demonstrations in Kiev.
February 27: A group of about 30 men armed with rifles and machine guns breaks into the parliament at dawn and the seat of the provincial government of Crimea in an action that left no victims , and entrenched inside.
February 28: The Crimean Parliament appoints a new regional government headed by the leader of the Russian Unity party, Sergei Aksenov, in protest against the new authorities appointed in Kiev after the ousting of President Yanukovych.
Military with unidentified uniforms begin to enter the Crimea , while the Interior Minister of Ukraine, Arsen Avákov, denounces the blockade by Russian military of the airport of Sevastopol, in the Ukrainian autonomous republic of Crimea, action that described as “military invasion and occupation”.
The president of the United States, Barack Obama, asks respect for the “territorial integrity” of Ukraine and assures that a hypothetical Russian military intervention would have “costs” .
March 1: Russian President Vladimir Putin obtains permission from the Russian parliament to intervene militarily in Ukraine, while his troops continue to deploy and control military and strategic installations in the Crimean peninsula.
March 2: Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk declares that movements of Russian troops in the Crimea are “a declaration of war” against Ukraine and asks Putin to withdraw his soldiers , while calling for the mobilization of army reservists ukrainian
The commander-in-chief of the Navy of Ukraine, Rear Admiral Denis Berezovski, swears allegiance to the Crimean people and to the acting Government of Kiev. Some media talk about mass desertions of the Ukrainian military.
Barack Obama, asked by a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, to return his forces to his bases in Crimea and to refrain from any interference in other parts of Ukraine, and warned him of the consequences that this will have for the international position From Russia.
The United Nations and Great Britain describe Russia’s attitude as “provocation”. NATO demands Putin “the end of military activities and provocation . ” The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, also telephoned Putin and demanded dialogue with the Kiev government to avoid a conflict.
March 3: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says at the UN that Russian troops deployed in the province of Crimea will remain until the rights of the Russian minority are respected. “Those who have taken power in Ukraine are imposing their victory to attack the fundamental rights of the Russians,” he says. Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev announces that Russia will carry forward the project to build a bridge over the Kerch Strait, which separates the Crimean peninsula from the territory of Russia.
The Prime Minister of Ukraine, Arseni Yatseniuk, responds by saying that the autonomous region of “Crimea will not be handed over to anyone”, while Russia denies having given an ultimatum for the disarmament of the Ukrainian military in Crimea
The military crisis in the Crimea causes the Moscow Stock Exchange and that of the main European markets to fall . Prussian protesters take government offices in the Odessa and Donetsk regions.
March 4: The Crimean Prime Minister announces a referendum on the situation in Sevastopol .
Putin orders the Russian troops deployed on the border with Ukraine to return to their bases, but no reference is made to the unidentified military that has been deployed in the peninsula , which remain in place.
The United States suspends trade negotiations and military cooperation with Russia. Military cooperation includes bilateral meetings, joint military maneuvers , planned conferences and port visits.
5 of March: the Russian forces manage to take control of the bases of two battalions of missiles of the Ukrainian Army in the Crimea, according to informed a military source mentioned by the Russian news agency Interfax.
The Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel García-Margallo, meets in Madrid with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, who asks for respect for national and international legality in Ukraine , including the inviolability of the borders, the territorial integrity of the country and national sovereignty “without external interference”.
US President Barack Obama warns his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, that Moscow “has no right” to use force to intervene in Ukraine and reiterated that Russia is “violating” international laws .
7 of March : the Ukraine denounces that Russia has deployed 30,000 soldiers in the region of Crimea. The Polish Minister of Defense, Tomasz Siemoniak, confirms the arrival at the Lask base of the first F-16 fighters and at least 300 US military personnel.
March 9 : Violent clashes between pro-Russians and proucranians take place in demonstrations held in various parts of the Crimea a week after the referendum, in which the Crimeans will be asked if they wish to join the Russian Federation.
March 10 : The Security Council of Russia prepares a series of proposals that will be presented to the United States to try to solve the crisis of Ukraine in the framework of international law, as announced by the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
March 11: The regional parliament of Crimea approves a declaration of independence from Ukraine and reiterated its aspiration to enter the Russian Federation .
March 12: A few days after the referendum in Crimea, the authorities of this peninsula decided to shield its territory and closed until March 18 its air space for all commercial flights from the rest of Ukraine.
For his part, the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, announces that he will travel to London to meet on Friday 14 with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and will present “options” to solve the crisis in Ukraine. In parallel, Obama says after a meeting with the Ukrainian Prime Minister, Arseni Yatseniuk, that he will not recognize the Crimean referendum.
On the other hand, G-7 leaders are calling on Moscow to “immediately cease all efforts” in support of the referendum, “contrary to Ukrainian law and a violation of international law,” they said in a statement.
March 13 : Angela Merkel dismisses the military option to deal with the Crimean crisis , but warns Moscow that, if there are no changes in its attitude, next Monday the foreign ministers of the European Union (EU) will approve new sanctions
Russia accepts international supervision in the Crimea as its armed forces intensify their military maneuvers in several regions bordering Ukraine.
March 15: The Supreme Rada (Parliament) of Ukraine dissolves the Legislative of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, which has called for a referendum on its annexation to Russia the following day.
On the other hand, Russia vetoes in the UN Security Council the resolution presented by the United States to defend the territorial integrity of Ukraine and not recognize the Crimean referendum, thus staging Putin’s isolation at the international level.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Army deploys troops and aircraft in the region of the Isthmus of Arbatskaya, one of the few links by land that connect the Crimean peninsula with the rest of Ukraine, before the landing of Russian troops in the area.
March 16: Day of the referendum in Crimea . Election day goes by without any major incidents, although the Ukrainian media denounces that there are 30 “self-declared international observers” who are supposedly supervising the consultation. On the same day, Ukraine announces a “truce agreement” with Russia for the Crimean region whereby Moscow is committed not to attack Ukrainian military installations in the Crimea until March 21st.
The result of the referendum was as expected, according to the previous polls: 96.77% of the Crimeans said ‘yes’ to return to be part of the Russian Federation, with 100% counted.
March 17: One day after the referendum, the interim president of Ukraine decrees the partial mobilization of the country, while the prime minister assures that Kiev will never recognize the result of the referendum. The Crimean Parliament officially calls for annexation to Russia after adopting a Declaration of Independence in which it addresses the UN to recognize the sovereignty of the new republic and, at the same time, to the Russian Federation to accept this territory as a subject federal .
In parallel, in a meeting in Brussels, the Twenty-eight decide to restrict the visas and freeze the goods in community territory to 21 Russians and Ukrainians considered responsible for the instability in the Ukrainian autonomous region of Crimea. The US, for its part, issues an executive order with sanctions against seven senior Moscow government officials in response to the referendum, and also orders sanctions against four Ukrainian individuals, including deposed President Viktor Yanukovych.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signs the document by which he recognizes Crimea as a sovereign state and, therefore, with the capacity to make decisions outside of Kiev.
March 18: Putin and the leaders of Crimea and Sevastopol sign the agreement to integrate the peninsula into Russia. After the signing, both Crimea and Sevastopol (where the Black Sea Fleet is based), they automatically became subjects of the Russian Federation. In parallel, the Ukraine denounces that a soldier of his died in the Crimea by shots of Russian soldiers. According to the Kiev version, Russian special troops assaulted a military unit , killing a Ukrainian non-commissioned officer. The United States announced more sanctions against Russia.
March 19: Two military bases in the Crimea were taken by pro-Russian and military civilians and the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Navy, Rear Admiral Serguei Gaiduk, was arrested. The Ukrainian government approves a plan to evacuate, if necessary, the Ukrainian citizens of Crimea.
March 21: At least 72 Ukrainian military units stationed in the Crimea raise the Russian flag. Among others, six warships and 25 support ships pass to the jurisdiction of Russia , according to the Government of Crimea.
March 24: The Ukrainian President, Alexander Turchinov, orders the withdrawal of all units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine located in the Crimean peninsula. That same day Russian troops in the Crimea assault the landing ship Konstantin Olshanski, one of the last two Ukrainian ships that had not yet surrendered to the Russian Black Sea Fleet.
March 27: The UN General Assembly approves a resolution that supports the territorial integrity of Ukraine, points out that the Crimean referendum “is not valid” and asks that the crisis created by its annexation to Russia be resolved peacefully.
7 of April: the Ukrainian official Stanislav Karáchevki dies after receiving a firing of a Russian soldier in a military barracks in the west of Crimea, according to the Russian version by a confrontation that he caused and according to Ukraine by a personal question and after a persecution. That same day, pro-Russian protesters entrenched in the seat of the Government of the Ukrainian region of Donetsk proclaimed on Monday the independence of that Russian-speaking zone of Ukraine and called for the holding of a referendum of accession to Russia.
April 8: Special forces of the Ukrainian police evict the seat of the regional government in the city of Kharkiv, occupied since Sunday by pro-Russian protesters, according to the Minister of the Interior of Ukraine, Arsen Avákov. ” Nearly 70 separatists have been arrested, ” Avákov wrote on his Facebook page. However another armed pro-Russian group occupies the headquarters of the Ukrainian Security Services (SBU, former KGB) in the eastern city of Lugansk “they have planted mines and hold about 60 people hostage .”
April 9: Russian President Vladimir Putin threatens to demand from Ukraine the advance payment of Russian gas to continue supplying it, due to the bulging debt of the neighboring country, which exceeds 2,000 million dollars (1,450 million euros).
April 10: Acting President of Ukraine Oleksander Turchinov announces that they will not persecute pro-Russian protesters who occupied government buildings in the east of the country if they surrender their arms, surrender and abandon their positions.
April 11: The Crimean Parliament approves the new Constitution of this peninsula and the autonomous city of Sevastopol , after its incorporation as a republic to the Russian Federation. At the same time, the Russian Government ratifies a modification of its Constitution that includes the incorporation of the peninsula.
April 12: Radical pro-Russian activists from southeastern Ukraine took a police station in Slaviansk, 120 kilometers from Donetsk. Soon after, three other police stations in the Donetsk region, specifically in the cities of Krasni Liman, Druzkovka and Kramatorsk, were occupied by pro-Russian activists.
April 13: Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov reports that an official of the Ukrainian security services has died and another five have been wounded during the ‘antiterrorist operation’ undertaken by the Kiev government against pro-Russian separatists They have taken two headquarters of the Ukrainian security forces in Slaviansk. The separatists also suffered casualties, in an indeterminate number, the minister reported.
April 14: Ukraine assures the UN Security Council that what is happening in the east of the country is “a large-scale terrorist operation orchestrated by Russia” and guarantees that its government will not let what happened in the Crimea happen again. That same day, the deadline for the ultimatum presented by the interim president of Ukraine, Alexander Turchinov, was due to the pro-Russians to lay down their arms and abandon the public buildings they keep occupied in the southeast of the country.
April 15 : In a telephone conversation, Obama asks Putin to use his influence to contain the violence in the Ukrainian east. The conversation takes place at the initiative of the Russian president, according to the White House. Obama again threatens sanctions if Russia does not withdraw its troops. Putin takes advantage of the conversation to deny that Moscow is meddling in Ukraine and calls for “the shedding of blood” to be avoided.
The interim president of Ukraine, Alexader Turchinov, announces the start of an anti-terrorist operation in the Donetsk region.
April 16: At least 20 armed pro-Russian separatists take control of the Donetsk town hall in eastern Ukraine, while a column of armored Ukrainian Army defected and joined the pro-Russian separatists.
NATO announces that it will deploy military resources by land, sea and air due to the crisis in Ukraine and that it will “protect every ally and defend any threat to our fundamental security “, while asking “Russia to be part of the The solution is to stop destabilizing Ukraine and withdraw its troops from the borders. “
21 of April: Vladimir Putin approves amendments to the Russian legislation by virtue of which the rusófonos of the old Soviet republics will be able to acquire the Russian citizenship , according to has informed this Monday the Kremlin.