Ukraine. The fighting between Ukrainian military and Prorussian separatists in eastern Ukraine escalated in January. According to Countryaah.com, many people were killed and the electricity supply was knocked out in the industrial city of Avdiivka in severe winter cold. President Petro Poroshenko canceled a visit to Berlin and returned home for a crisis meeting. According to the UN, the ceasefire was broken almost every day, and the number of casualties rose in the spring. In three years, over 10,000 people had been killed. A quarter of the victims were civilians. About 24,000 people had been injured.
Poroshenko planned a referendum on Ukrainian membership in NATO, after investigations showed a majority for NATO membership. Parliament voted during the year for Ukraine to apply for membership, and Poroshenko hoped that the country would meet the requirements for 2020. NATO Secretary General visited Kiev, and it was decided to work together on a so-called roadmap for Ukraine’s path to NATO membership.
In February, Ukraine’s security service accused the Russian Federation of cyberattacks against, among other things, the Ukrainian electricity grid.
In fighting in February, some thirty people were killed. The parties agreed on a new ceasefire in the presence of the contact group with the Foreign Ministers of Ukraine, Germany, France and the Russian Federation.
A former Russian MP criticizing the Russian annexation of Crimea was murdered in Kiev in March. The Ukrainian government accused Moscow of being behind the act against Denis Voronenkov, who was granted asylum in Ukraine.
Ukraine sued the Russian Federation before the International Court of The Hague (ICJ) at the beginning of the year on charges of supporting terrorism through financial aid to the Prorian militias that killed civilians and shot down a Malaysian passenger plane in 2014. In April, the court declared that it could not prove Russian financing. But Ukraine got right in its demand for an end to Russian discrimination against minorities in Crimea. The Court would continue to investigate the Russian Federation’s debt to the war in Ukraine.
The central bank’s reputable head Valeria Gontareva resigned in May. Gontareva, which was cleared up in one of Europe’s most corrupt banking systems, had been subjected to threats and pressures from powerful oligarchs and feared for its security. In a disintegrating economy, Gontareva had pushed through economic reforms that opened for an IMF-led $ 17.5 billion aid package to Ukraine.
In May, former President Viktor Yanukovych was indicted in his absence for, among other things, treason by supporting the Russian Federation’s attack on Ukraine.
In May, the EU decided on visa waivers for Ukrainian citizens to the EU Member States – Britain and Ireland excluded. The decision came into force in June and was celebrated with festivities in Kiev.
When the Eurovision Slag Finals were held in Kiev in May, the mood of fighting with civilian casualties in eastern Ukraine was disturbed. President Poroshenko canceled his presence at the festival.
In May, Ukraine decided to block access to the most widely used Russian social media on the Internet. The ban is valid for three years. The closure mainly affected the people of eastern Ukraine and received criticism from human rights organizations for violating freedom of expression.
In July, the EU approved its previously so contentious cooperation agreement with Ukraine. It happened before a summit in Kiev between EU leaders and President Poroshenko. The agreement includes political and economic cooperation, and the Kiev government hopes it will lead to future EU membership for Ukraine. The agreement entered into force on September 1.
Georgia’s former President Micheil Saakashvili was deprived of his Ukrainian citizenship in July. He was charged with false information in connection with being granted citizenship in 2015. But in September, Saakashvili moved into Ukraine across the border from Poland during a riot, when hundreds of his followers crowded police and border guards.
Ukraine extradited two Russian journalists in August, one of them a TV reporter who was accused of anti-Ukrainian propaganda when reporting from eastern Ukraine. The decision was condemned by the OSCE cooperation organization. Two journalists from Spain were also declared unwanted.
In September, the president approved a new law that all school education from grade 5 should be in Ukrainian from 2020. Minority languages may only be studied as an option. Neighboring countries such as the Russian Federation and Romania protested.
Thousands of people demonstrated in Kiev against President Poroshenko in October, demanding tougher measures against corruption. One of the speakers was Micheil Saakashvili, who demanded Poroshenko’s departure. Following the protests, Poroshenko promised a special court against corruption.
Ukraine – Kiev
Kiev, Ukrainian Kyiv, capital of Ukraine; 2. 9 million residents (2015). Kiev is located in central Ukraine on the Dnieper River. The city is an important trade and transport center with a diverse industry. Machinery and transport equipment, consumer capital goods and electrical and electronic products are produced here. The textile, clothing and food industries are also well represented. Despite a large Russian-speaking population, the city maintained its position as a Ukrainian cultural center during the Soviet period. In Kiev there are universities (founded in 1834).
Architecture and cityscape
The oldest Kiev, which is still the city center, was built on a steep hill above the Dnieper. The city’s position as the largest and most important in the entire Slavic area was marked by several large-scale construction companies during the 11th century, primarily the Sofia Cathedral (1017–37). In the fortified Petjerski Monastery, founded in the 1050s south of the city center, is the Uspensky Cathedral from the 1070s and a system of underground monastic cells.
After a long period of decline, Kiev flourished again during the 19th century, when large public institution buildings were erected and urban buildings were built along tree-lined streets. The area around the city’s main street, Chreshchatyk, was destroyed during World War II and rebuilt in the monumental style of the Stalin era.
Parts of Kiev’s favorably located urban area were already inhabited during the Roman Iron Age, from which places of residence, tombs and coins are known. Loose finds show that central parts of the urban area were inhabited during the 600s. Both on the heights and below, small Slavic settlements were now established. During the 800s, the settlement on Starokyivska Hora was fortified, and by the end of the 880s, the settlement increased sharply, both along the heights and on the Dnieper beach (Podil). Several fortifications were found on the heights, where large burial fields were also located.
During the second half of the 9th century, the buildings were concentrated in Podil, Kyselivka and Starokyivska Hora. To the latter height was placed the residence of the Grand Prince, which may already have included brick buildings in the middle of the 9th century, erected by Byzantine models. Ethnically, the majority of the population was local, but also included Asian and Scandinavian groups; tomb condition and object finds show Scandinavian presence from the late 800s and during the 900s.
Kiev was the center of the prince state of Kievrus from the 8th century until the conquest of the Mongols in 1240. Subsequently, the prince of Kiev stood in feudal dependence on the Khan, until the city was subordinated to Poland and 1362 Lithuania in 1340. When Kiev became part of the Polish-Lithuanian Union in 1386, a period of struggle began over the religious supremacy between the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Pope in Rome.
The Catholic position was strengthened in 1632, when an academy of Latin and Catholic theology was established in Kiev. A number of Cossack-led rebellions against the Polish rulers’ oppression of the late 16th century led to the incorporation of most of Ukraine with Kiev into the Russian Empire in 1654, and the increasingly orthodox city became the center of a Russian government. In the latter part of the 18th century, when Kiev had more than 40,000 residents, the first industries were established, and the city gained economic importance.
In the middle of the 19th century, Kiev became the capital of the first Ukrainian nationalist movement, led by the poet Taras Shevchenko, and during the turbulent years following the 1917 Russian revolutions, Kiev was the meeting point of the National Congress and seat of the Central Council, which fought for an independent Ukraine. With the exception of German occupation 1941–43, the city served as the center of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic from 1934 to 1991, when Kiev became the capital of the independent state of Ukraine.
During the Second World War around Kiev, September 10-26, 1941, the largest call-in operation of war history was completed, which resulted in the Germans taking 665,000 Soviet prisoners as well as about 900 tanks and 3,500 guns. A claw was formed by two German armored groups, one under Colonel Ewald von Kleist from the south, the other under General Colonel Heinz Guderian from the north. Their main departments met on September 16, 1941, in the village of Lochvytsia (Russian Lochvitsa) east of Kiev, and thus the ring was completed. Despite the enormous Soviet losses, the success of the Germans did not have a decisive influence on the campaign, as the Red Army’s manpower and equipment reserves far exceeded what Germany had assumed. Kiev fell almost unharmed in the hands of the Germans, but tenacious Soviet opponents blasted and burned parts of the city. When the Red Army recaptured Kiev in November 1943, it was further destroyed.