President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday linked historic pro-democracy protests in Kyiv one decade ago to the invasion of Ukraine, describing the demonstrations on Maidan square as the “first victory” of the war with Russia.

The pro-European protest movement -- in which around 100 civilians died in violent clashes with security forces in the capital -- ultimately led to the ouster of Kremlin-backed President Viktor Yanukovych.

“The first victory in today’s war took place. A victory against indifference. A victory of courage. The victory of the Revolution of Dignity,” Zelensky said in a statement, marking the 10-year anniversary of the months-long protest movement.

The Maidan protests erupted in late 2013 when Yanukovych ditched an association agreement trade deal with the European Union, and sparked a separatist conflict in the east of the country.


Zelensky praised his country’s progress towards gaining membership to the European Union since Russian forces invaded last February.

“Year after year, step by step, we do our best to ensure that our star shines in the circle of stars on the EU flag, which symbolises the unity of the peoples of Europe. The star of Ukraine,” he said.

The EU’s executive recommended earlier this month opening formal membership talks with Ukraine and Moldova and suggested member states grant Georgia candidate status.

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Kallas said that training Ukraine’s forces on their territory would not be escalatory, adding that “Russia’s propaganda is about being at war with NATO; they don’t need an excuse.”

Belarusian opposition leader, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, also sent a message of support to mark the anniversary.

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