KIEV, Ukraine – Three protesters died during Wednesday confrontation between police and demonstrators in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, further escalating two-month-old protest movement over the government decision to ditch a cooperation deal with the EU for closer ties with Moscow.
Here are the key dates that have shaped the protests so far:
Nov. 21 — President Viktor Yanukovych's cabinet announces that they are ditching an agreement that would strengthen ties with the European Union, and instead seek closer cooperation with Moscow.
Nov. 30 — Police launches a brutal attack on protesters, detaining 35. Images of protesters bloodied by police truncheons spread quickly and galvanized public support for the demonstrators. A demonstration on December 1st attracted around 300,000 people, the largest protest in Kiev since the Orange Revolution in 2004.
Dec. 17 — Russian President Vladimir Putin announces that Moscow will buy $15 billion worth of Ukrainian government bonds and allow for a sharp cut in the price Ukrainians will have to pay for Russian natural gas. Putin and Yanukovych claimed that there were no conditions attached to the agreement, which did not require Ukraine to join a Russia-led free trade pact.
Jan. 22 — Two protesters die after being hit with live ammunition and the third after a fall during a confrontation between police and demonstrators manning barricades, the first protest deaths.