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Clockwise from top left: A large EU flag is waved across Maidan on 27 November 2013, opposition activist and popular singer Ruslana addresses the crowds on Maidan on 29 November 2013, Pro EU rally on Maidan, Euromaidan on European Square on 1 December, tree decorated with flags and posters, crowds direct hose at militsiya, plinth of the toppled Lenin statue Viktor Yanukovych Mykola Azarov Serhiy Arbuzov Vitaliy Zakharchenko Oleksandr Yefremov Andriy Klyuyev Hennadiy Kernes Mikhail Dobkin Viktor Pshonka Olena Lukash Yuriy Boyko Leonid Kozhara Dmytro Tabachnyk) was a wave of demonstrations and civil unrest in Ukraine, which began on the night of 21 November 2013 with public protests in Maidan Nezalezhnosti ("Independence Square") in Kiev.
The protests were sparked by the Ukrainian government's decision to suspend the signing of an association agreement with the European Union, instead choosing closer ties to Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union.
The signing was witnessed by the Foreign Ministers of Germany and Poland, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Radosław Sikorski, respectively, and the Director of the Continental Europe Department of the French Foreign Ministry, Eric Fournier.
Vladimir Lukin, representing Russia, refused to sign the agreement.
The scope of the protests soon widened, with calls for the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych and his government. During the Euromaidan, there were protests and clashes with police throughout Ukraine, especially at the Maidan in Kiev, which was occupied and barricaded by protesters.
Dozens of communist monuments were also toppled or destroyed.
In an interview with Lally Weymouth, Ukrainian billionaire businessman and opposition leader Petro Poroshenko said: "From the beginning, I was one of the organizers of the Maidan. At the same time, more than 50 percent were ready to take part in the creation of independent military units, compared to 15 and 21 percent during the past studies, respectively.
My television channel — Channel 5 — played a tremendously important role. 49% of Ukrainians supported signing the Association Agreement, while 31% opposed it and the rest had not decided yet.
In the same poll, only 30% said the opposition would be able to stabilise the society and govern the country well, if coming to power, while 37% disagreed.In late February 2014, Yanukovych and many other high government officials fled the country.