Ukraine commemorates the 10th anniversary of the Euromaidan protest movement that began in 2014. The movement was triggered by the refusal of then-president Viktor Yanukovych to sign an association agreement with the European Union.
A presidential decree in 2014 established the Day of Dignity and Freedom as a Ukrainian holiday that marks the beginning of the Euromaidan protests in 2014 and the Orange Revolution between 2004 and 2005.
European Council President Charles Michel and Moldovan President Maia Sandu arrived in Kyiv on November 21 to celebrate the Day of Dignity and Freedom. German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius also visited Kyiv on November 21 unannounced.
Sandu, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and First Lady Olena Zelenska paid their respects to over 100 people killed in the 2013-2014 EuroMaidan Revolution.
Charles Michel arrived in the Ukrainian capital and shared his excitement about returning to Kyiv and being with friends.
Maia Sandu plans to meet with Michel and Zelenskyy to discuss Moldova and Ukraine’s accession to the EU, regional security, and EU support for reforms and development.
[Charles Michel arrived in the Ukrainian capital on November 21. Credit: Charles Michel @CharlesMichel]
“Arrived in Kyiv for meetings with Presidents @ZelenskyyUa and @CharlesMichel. On our agenda: discussing next steps in EU accession of Moldova and Ukraine, enhancing regional security, and EU’s continued support of reforms and development in our countries,” President Sandu posted on X.
German Defence Minister makes second unannounced visit to Kyiv. He visited a memorial to the Euromaidan revolution and laid flowers, commemorating the 10th anniversary of the start of the revolution in 2014.
2014: A new page for Ukraine
In November 2013, the Euromaidan Revolution began when President Viktor Yanukovych, a politician loyal to Vladimir Putin, declined to sign the Association Agreement with the European Union, opting for a loan from the Kremlin instead. The government responded to the protests with a brutal crackdown, resulting in the deaths of over 100 demonstrators, now known as the “Heavenly Hundred.” The protests concluded in February 2014, with Yanukovych and other high-ranking officials fleeing to Russia and a pro-Western interim government taking their place.
In today’s commemoration, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted that Ukraine turned a page in her History.
“10 years ago, we started a new page in the struggle. 10 years ago, Ukrainians launched their first counteroffensive. Against lawlessness, against the attempt to deprive us of our European future. Against our subjugation,” said the Ukrainian President.
Ten years ago, people came together to resist something and, more importantly, stand up for themselves. They stood for one another. Those who had experienced the abuse of power knew that they were not alone in their suffering. They felt that every act of injustice inflicted harm on them, justice and truth, freedom, and our collective future, emphasised President Zelenskyy.
“What kind of world will we live in if we remain passive, silent, and cowed instead of fighting back?”
[Presidents Maia Sandu, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and First Lady Olena Zelenska paid their respects to over 100 people killed in the 2013-2014 EuroMaidan Revolution. Credit: Office of the President of Ukraine]
“And then, in fact, the first victory in today’s war took place. The victory of non-indifference. The victory of courage. The victory of the Revolution of Dignity. The victory of people’s resistance, civil society, the feat of the Heavenly Hundred Heroes, and all those who fought for freedom in the capital and other regions”, Zelenskyy added.
“Our people have a long way behind them, which we have already passed. Behind me today are the flags of Ukraine and the European Union”.
Euromaidan has changed Europe forever
The European Commission remembered Euromaidan with the following post:
“The cold November nights of #Euromaidan have changed Europe forever. A whole nation took to the streets with one voice, declaring: Ukraine belongs in Europe. And our future belongs to us. Today, we mark the 10-year anniversary of those significant days”.
“Ten years of dignity. Of pride. Of striving for freedom. The cold winter nights of Euromaidan have changed Europe forever. Today, it is clearer than ever. The future of Ukraine is in the European Union. The future that the Maidan fought for has finally begun,” EC President Ursula von der Leyen posted.
“10 years ago, Ukrainians took to the streets to say it loud and clear: Ukraine belongs in the EU. Today, Ukraine is a candidate state. The Kremlin started its war against Ukraine because it sees democracy in Europe as a threat. We must keep supporting Ukraine’s freedom,” Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas wrote.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock posted: “10 years ago today you could already hear on the #Maidan how loudly the heart of the #Ukraine beats for Europe – carried by courage and hope for a future in freedom. Back then, the Ukrainians chose the path to #Europa – today we are taking it together”.
“Today, my thoughts are with the brave people of Ukraine 🇺🇦 on their Day of Dignity & Freedom. This day marks the 10th anniversary of the Revolution of Dignity. Ukraine’s resilience & unyielding spirit shine as a beacon of hope for democracies worldwide. @Tsihanouskaya,” Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the leader of the Belarusian Democratic Forces, expressed her solidarity.