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First Victims Of Maidan Crackdown Remembered In Ukraine

  • RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service
  • RFE/RL's Belarus Service

A year after their deaths, Ukraine is paying tribute to the first victims of a government crackdown on the Euromaidan protests that toppled President Viktor Yanukovych.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko placed flowers to the memorial monument to a Belarusian citizen, Mikhail Zhyzneuski, who died a year ago on Maidan, on January 22.

Poroshenko also laid flowers to the memorial wall to the victims of Maidan near the Parliamentary library in Kyiv.

A march was to be held in Kyiv later on January 22, marked as the Day of Unity in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people in Ukraine's western cities of Lviv and Zhytomyr honored the memory of Zhyzneuski of Belarus and Serhiy Nihoyan, Ukrainian of Armenian origin, by praying at churches and placing flowers at the graves of others who were killed during the protests.

Zhyzneuski and Nihoyan were shot dead in central Kyiv on January 22, 2014.

A third protester, Roman Senyk, was severely wounded that day and died three days later.

As the number of protesters shot by snipers or killed in clashes with police grew, the victims became known as the "Heavenly Hundred."

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine after Yanukovych fled in late February, and Moscow has backed pro-Russian separatists whose conflict with government forces has killed more than 4,800 people in eastern Ukraine since April.

No public commemorations were held for Zhyzneuski in Belarus, a Russian ally, and his mother said his grave had been vandalized.

With reporting by UNIAN
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