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February 2014, Ukraine’s Euromaidan revolution against the government of Viktor Yanukovych had reached another stalemate after the violence in late January. But on the 18th, massive and fatal clashes broke out between police and protesters outside the Ukrainian parliament building, the Rada.
After hours of fierce fighting, the protesters were pushed back onto their last lines of defense in Independence square and just about forced the police back after an attempt to clear the square. Once the dust had settled almost 30 police and protesters had been killed, on a day where firearms were used openly by both sides for the first time.
Vice News arrived a day later to a city on lockdown and Independence square resembling a dystopian protest nightmare, fires burning, everything covered in black ash and the protesters themselves looked tired and desperate as a fragile truce held throughout the night.
The next day however set of a chain of events that would leave dozens of protesters dead, Yanukovych fleeing the country and the protesters firmly in control of parliament. This film tracks the last days of the Euromaidan revolution, from the mass killings of protesters by the police on 20th February, to the day Yanukovych fled his private estate, leaving behind a wealth of incriminating documents linking him to fraud, corruption and possibly even attempted murder.
Within days an interim government, made up of protest figures and opposition MPs was in power and presidential elections were set for the 25th May. However, since the end of the revolution the new government has had to face a nosediving economy, the Russian annexation of Crimea and now a violent bid for independence by pro-Russian separatists in the east. After a violent and chaotic 6 months, the election gives the country a chance to look towards a future of closer links to the EU and a chance to end the corruption that dominates Ukrainian society.
Watch all of VICE News’ dispatches from Ukraine: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLw613M86o5o5zqF6WJR8zuC7Uwyv76h7R
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