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A year of crisis in Ukraine

Ukraine`s worst political crisis since its independence in 1991 has witnessed a full year of bloody turmoil.



Kiev: Ukraine`s worst political crisis since its independence in 1991 has witnessed a full year of bloody turmoil.

Here are key dates of a conflict that has already seen Russia seize a chunk of its western neighbour`s territory and sparked the worst standoff in East-West relations since the Cold War:

2013

November 21: Ukraine`s Kremlin-backed government suspends talks on an association agreement with the European Union in favour of closer ties with Moscow.

The decision triggers three months of demonstrations in Kiev`s central Independence Square, known as the Maidan, and western Ukrainian cities where pro-European sentiment runs strong.

2014

January 21-22: Fierce clashes between security forces and demonstrators leave several protesters dead.

February 18-20: Bloodshed erupts, with a failed crackdown by authorities on the protests killing over 100 people.

February 22: President Viktor Yanukovych, accused of ordering the police to open fire on civilians, flees to Russia and is ousted by parliament.

March 1: Russian troops and pro-Moscow forces begin seizing ports and cities in the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea.

March 16: Crimean residents, mostly Russian speakers, vote to join Russia in a referendum that Kiev and the West do not recognise.

March 20: Russia`s parliament ratifies a treaty incorporating Crimea into Russia. President Vladimir Putin then seals the deal.

April 6: Pro-Moscow demonstrators seize government buildings in towns and cities in Ukraine`s Russian-speaking east, including Donetsk and Lugansk.

April 13: Kiev announces the launch of an "anti-terrorist" operation in the east.

May 11: Voters call for independence in referendums in Lugansk and Donetsk, rejected as illegitimate by Kiev and the West.

May 25: Ukraine`s presidential election is won by Petro Poroshenko.

June 27: The EU and Ukraine sign the association agreement whose rejection had sparked the initial unrest.

July 17: Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 is shot down over rebel-held territory, killing 298 people.

July 29: The EU and the United States broaden sanctions on Russia, which later bans most US and EU food imports.

August 25: Rebels mount a counter-offensive in the southeast, reportedly backed by Russian troops and heavy weapons.

September 5: Ceasefire signed in Minsk but violence continues.

October 26: Pro-West parties win big in a general election boycotted in the east.

October 30: In Brussels, Russia and Ukraine forge a gas supply agreement after fraught negotiations.

November 2: Separatists in eastern Ukraine vote in Russian-backed leadership elections that Kiev and the West refuse to recognise.

November 12: NATO accuses Russia of sending fresh columns of tanks, troops and military hardware into Ukraine.

2015

January 22: Donetsk airport falls to rebels after months of intense fighting.

February 12: The rival sides agree a peace roadmap during marathon talks in Minsk, backed by the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine.

The IMF and Ukraine agree a USD 17.5 billion financial deal for Kiev, bringing total international assistance over four years to USD 40 billion.

February 15: The ceasefire comes into force but both sides trade accusations of breaches.

February 16: The EU ratchets up sanctions on Russia and Ukrainian separatist figures.

February 17: Fierce street battles break out in the strategic railway hub of Debaltseve between Donetsk and Lugansk, where government forces are surrounded by rebels.

February 18: Government forces withdraw from Debaltseve.

February 19: The leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France hold talks to try to salvage the tattered ceasefire.  

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