From Kiev protests to Crimean split
A chronology of the main developments in Ukraine and Crimea, from when the political crisis erupted in November to Crimea's controversial vote on whether to secede from Ukraine on Sunday.
- 21: Ukrainian authorities suspend talks on a trade pact with the European Union in favour of closer relations with Russia, sparking protests by pro-European opposition groups three days later.
- 1: Up to 500,000 demonstrators march through Kiev demanding new elections before pouring into Independence Square, where they set up camp and build barricades.
- 19-22: Dozens are wounded in urban guerilla fighting between police and protesters after the government adopts new laws to restrict protests. By the end of the month the casualty toll stands at four dead and more than 500 injured.
- 4: Protesters demand the return of 2004 constitution, which limits the government's powers. Drafted during the Orange Revolution, it was annulled after Viktor Yanukovych was elected president in 2010.
- 18-20: Riot police launch an assault on protesters in Kiev, sparking riots during which crowds charge a police line on Independence Square. At least 83 people are killed, including 15 police officers. The death toll linked to the escalating violence nears 100.
- 22: Parliament impeaches Yanukovych and he flees Kiev. Presidential elections are planned for May 25.
- Opposition figure Yulia Tymoshenko is released from prison.
- 23: Parliament elects Tymoshenko ally Oleksandr Turchynov as interim president.
- 26: Russia rejects Ukraine's new leadership and puts armed forces on high alert.
- Pro-Russian demonstrators brawl with supporters of Kiev's interim authorities in Simferopol, capital of the Russian-speaking peninsula of Crimea.
- 27: Pro-Russian gunmen seize parliament and government buildings in Simferopol, raising the Russian flag. Pro-Russian soldiers move to storm airports and isolate Ukrainian military bases on the peninsula.
- 28: The Ukrainian interior minister denounces the "armed invasion" by Russian forces, which are now in de facto control of the peninsula.
-- MARCH --
- 4: Putin denies Russia has sent troops, says force only to be used as a last resort. US President Barack Obama claims Putin is "not fooling anybody".
- 6: Pro-Moscow officials in Crimea ask Putin to examine a request to join the Russian Federation and plan an independence referendum for March 16.
- The United States slaps visa bans on Russians and Ukrainians it blames for destabilising Ukraine.
- The EU holds a summit on crisis, saying it could sign an association accord with Kiev before the May 25 elections.
- 9: Putin claims the measures taken by officials in Crimea respect international law.
- 11: Crimean regional parliament adopts a "declaration of independence".
- 12: Obama receives Yatsenyuk at the White House.
- 13: Ukraine moves to mobilise a volunteer force. German Chancellor Angela Merkel warns Moscow of potentially "massive" long-term economic and political damage.
- Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Czhemilev calls for a boycott of the referendum and a NATO intervention to avert a "massacre" in Crimea.
© 2014 AFP