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“We met 15 minutes ago, but it was definitely love at  first sight,” says 19-year-old Oleh Klichko as he plants a kiss on his companion’s cheek. She blushes and hugs him back. Klichko is from Ivano-Frankivsk, and he met 17-year-old Katya Kornilova right here on Maidan, where she came to defend Ukraine’s European choice, and make friends.

While for some Maidan may be a passing romantic moment, for others it seems to be a little more than that.  Mykola Mureniuk, a 30-year-old handyman from Ivano-Frankivsk has been on Maidan since the early days and was among protesters beaten by riot police on Nov. 30. “Then I promised that I am not here for fun or girls, but seems like there was a gift waiting for me,” he says, with his voice radiating warmth.

When the protests started on Nov. 21, in the wake of the government’s decision to halt preparations for signing a major pact with the European Union, Mureniuk took up the duty of chief volunteer of the stella area on Independence Square. He had to pick women to help at the kitchen, and that’s when he met Alla Dychenko from Kyiv. 

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