Since November 2013, anti-government protests in Ukraine have engulfed central Kiev. These protests dubbed "Euromaidan" escalated in January 2014 when police and protesters clashed over a new and highly controversial protest law. This law could send you in prison for wearing a mask at a protest or even setting up a tent without police permission.
The fighting lasted for four days and left hundreds injured and at least two dead from gunshot wounds. The clashes centered around Hrushevskoho street on the eastern edge of the Maidan when new barricades have been set up and shaky cease-fire was in place.
In the early days of the protest the opposition parties were influential on the streets. But after weeks of stagnation protesters were getting tired of the continuing political stalemate. After trying to negotiate an extension of the cease-fire and constantly being shouted down Klitschko finally gave up trying to talk with the protesters and retreated from the barricades. After hours of intense clashes eventually things calmed down and uneasy standoff continued.
It felt like the protests had entered a more peaceful phase. However on the 18th of February violent clashes kicked off again outside Parliament which left 26 dead and hundreds injured, and the prospect of Independence Square being cleared for good became a worrying reality.
What began as a protest against the Ukrainian government's close relationship with Russian leader Vladimir Putin has nearly become a civil war. Yanukovych was in no mood to give up his power but Parliament voted to remove him and hold new elections. Yanukovych fled Kiev after protesters took control and Ukraine's provisional government issued a warrant for his arrest. Russian troops took over Crimea without firing a shot and since then the situation in Ukraine became an open and difficult international problem.