Thousands Ring In New Year On Ukraine's Protest Square

KIEV, Ukraine -- Tens of thousands of Ukrainians rang in the new year on Kiev's Independence Square, the centre of protests which have rocked the country since President Viktor Yanukovych ditched a pact for closer ties with the EU.

Fireworks illuminate the night sky above Independence Square as Ukrainians celebrate the 2014 New Year at the pro-European supportersí tent camp in Kiev.

Wrapped in Ukrainian and EU flags, some with their children hitched on their shoulders, the protesters waved lamps or cellphones as they sang the national anthem when the clock struck midnight on the square, known locally as Maidan.

"Maidan is the place to be for New Year's. The most important things happened here this year," said Volodymyr Drumashine, a beekeeper who travelled to Kiev from Tcherkassy, 120 miles south of the capital.

The square has been the headquarters of the protest movement since Yanukovych refused to sign an agreement bringing Ukraine closer to the EU in late November, sparking further anger when he accepted a bail-out from Russia.

Protesters have set up camp on the square and erected barricades to prevent security forces from entering the area.

The protests are the biggest to hit Ukraine since the 2004 Orange Revolution, a popular uprising which forced the annulment of fraudulent elections initially claimed by Yanukovych.

"This year, I couldn't just stay at home watching television which turns us into zombies," said Olena Turovska, 26.

"Everything is different today, the country has changed."

Jailed ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, whose detention supporters say is aimed at eliminating her from politics, had a message for the revellers in a letter read out by one of her allies.

"In 2014, the country will start to rid itself of dictatorship. This will be a year for free Ukrainians," she said, adding that the protest movement was "the main success of the year – and the decade."

"I know that one day we will sing the national anthem together on Maidan."

Yanukovych admitted in a message to the nation that 2013 had been "the most difficult year in the history of Ukraine" since its independence in 1991.

Source: The Telegraph


Igor Skakovsky said…
United Ukraine is the only way to be. It is obvious to me that EU and Russia are working on splitting Ukraine in halve or three parts. It is so clear and unmistakable work up to the point of no return. The situation is getting heated up under the silenced OK from the biggest player USA. The Ukraine in hands of Ukrainians, be wise, do not let the big guys to screw up a country of 46 million people. Stay strong and united no meter what provocateurs on both sides will do. This fight is not about West verses East it is about Ukraine surviving as country. EU had all the chances to reassure Ukraine of financial support when Russia's protectionism being exposed but, they didn't; Russia on the other hand had a chance to find a solution to the threat of EU products but, it didn't. US on the other hand could pressure IMF to secure another trench of loans to prevent Ukraine from kneeling to Russia but, they didn't.
People of Ukraine make your own conclusions but, what ever you do, who ever you support, whether you are from the Western Ukraine and believe that it is better to suffer hard ship than leave in country with human rights abuses, or whether you are from the East and believe that it is better to straggle longer under discrimination but know that you have job Tomorrow and things will get better one day, STAY UNITED for the sake of Ukraine. This is first time in the history Ukraine exist in its current borders but, it is not the first time Ukrainian people have to suffer. SLAVA UKRAINY, SLAVA GEROYAM. Ukraine stay united and prevent the bigger suffering that is being carefully prepared for you buy big guys. Some of them have direct interest to see Ukraine to be divided and some have "bigger fish to fry" and would simply do nothing to prevent the division of a country.