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Ukraine Marks Euromaidan's Second Anniversary

  • RFE/RL

People lay flowers at a memorial in central Kyiv on November 21.

People lay flowers at a memorial in central Kyiv on November 21.

People across Ukraine are marking the Day of Dignity and Freedom, a holiday commemorating the 2013 beginning of the Euromaidan protests that ousted former President Viktor Yanukovych.

Government officials, Maidan protest participants, and ordinary citizens on November 21 held ceremonies and placed flowers at a Kyiv monument to the "Heavenly Hundred" -- protesters who were killed in clashes with security forces during the protest.

Commemorations were held in other cities as well.

The Euromaidan protest movement began when protesters gathered in central Kyiv after Yanukovych announced he was postponing plans to sign an Association Agreement with the European Union and would seek closer economic ties with Russia.

In February 2014, Yanukovych fled to Russia and was removed from office.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko congratulated the nation on the occasion of the anniversary and announced that he had signed a packet of laws aimed at securing visa-free travel with the EU.

"I know that people are not satisfied with the quality and pace of the [post-Euromaidan] changes," Poroshenko said in a written statement. "The reforms that have been begun have not yet brought about an improvement in living standards. But war has never brought about flourishing. We have endured and are enduring both military action on our territory and far-reaching economic aggression from Russia."

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