Hundreds of people attended events in central Kyiv on Feb. 2o to mark the third anniversary of the killings of the Heavenly Hundred, as those who died during Ukraine’s 2013-2014 EuroMaidan Revolution are now known.
A memorial march proceeded up Instytutska Street, where dozens of protesters were shot dead by snipers from Ukraine’s security forces on Feb. 20, 2014.
Visitors to the events laid flowers at memorials to those killed, lit candles, and prayed.
The events of Feb. 20 were the bloody climax of three months of anti-government protests in central Kyiv and around Ukraine in the winter of 2013-2014. Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych abandoned office and fled the country shortly after his security forces carried out the Feb. 20, 2014 massacre on Instytutska Street.
Days later, Russia launched its invasion of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea, which it annexed on March 18.
Russia then sparked an armed conflict in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, when it sent in special operations soldiers to take over police, security and government offices in parts Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts.
Ukraine responded with a military operation to regain control of the captured areas, but its offensive against the Russian proxy forces was halted in late August 2014 when Russia intervened in Ukraine with at least four battalions of its regular troops, forcing Kyiv to the negotiating table in Minsk, Belarus.
A peace agreement was reached at Minsk, but its terms, including a cease-fire and pull back of heavy weapons from the front line, have never been implemented.
According to a Ukrainian Foreign Ministry statement posted on Feb. 20, Russia’s war on Ukraine has cost 9,800 lives, injured 23,000 people, and displaced 1.8 million people from their homes. Russia and its proxy forces have occupied 7.2 percent of Ukraine’s territory, and seized control of 410 kilometers of Ukraine’s border with Russia.