One Young World Ambassador from Ukraine, Valeria Cherednichenko on the current situation in Ukraine with contributions from Ukrainian citizens.
On 21 November a Ukrainian government decree suspended preparations for signing of the Association Agreement with the European Union. In the following days, the biggest protests since the Orange Revolution (or in Ukrainian "Pomarancheva revolyutsiya") were being held in Kyiv. During the third Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius on 28-29 November 2013 the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement was not signed.
On the morning of 30 November 2013 at 04:00, the Berkut (special units of the Ukrainian police within the Ministry of Internal Affairs) attacked and dispersed all peaceful protesters from the Independence Square (capital's main square). About 100 people were injured as a result, the majority of the demonstrators were young students. Violent dispersal of demonstrators on Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square or as is now known "EuroMaidan") in the centre of Kyiv on Saturday morning is a shameful infringement of peoples' right to peacefully protest envisaged both in the Constitution of Ukraine and numerous international treaties to which Ukraine is a party. Words cannot describe the shock in which Ukraine woke up in that morning.
However, people recovered, gathered their spirit and once again went to the streets of Kyiv and other cities of Ukraine on 30 November and 1 December 2013 to peacefully protest against; the violations of human rights carried out on their fellow citizens, against the policy of the current government, and against fear. Ukraine's peaceful demonstrations embodied the best European values of civil resistance.
If there is one message I would like to send to the international community and to my fellow One Young World Ambassadors across the continents and the world, it is that the demonstrations in Kyiv on 1 December were peaceful. The violence on Bankova Street on that morning was provoked by a small group of instigators and had nothing to do with the peaceful protesters. This should be taken into account by Ukrainian and international media while reporting about the situation in Ukraine.
I think the words of my friends and fellow Ukrainians can better describe and help us to understand what is actually happening now in Ukraine.
"If there is one thing that EuroMaidan has achieved, it's uniting people with one strong idea, that it breaks down all walls built by politics. And that idea is not just European integration, it's about being better, building a better future for ourselves here and now. Because Europe starts with you!"
Anastasiia, 26 years old
"My friend and I took part in the students' strike. We met near my university at midday, where approximately 400 people were already standing. We then went to another three universities gathering more and more students. The path we walked was about 13 km, however no one was too tired to sing patriotic songs (even though it was 0 degrees). When we approached Bogomoltca University, the security there immediately started locking the gates. Students tried to climb the fence and the security did everything they could to prevent anyone from leaving the premises. The previous day this university stated that any student who tried to take part in a protest would be excluded. When we reached EuroMaidan, we were amoungst 15000 young people with one goal, one future and one dream."
Ira, 20 years old
"So disappointing! I am ashamed to acknowledge that my country is governed by such people. I hope that the international community recognises that the majority of Ukrainians do not deserve it and that they will keep on believing in us! Euro Maydan gives us hope and understanding that still much depends on every single Ukrainian."
Anya, 23 years old
"EuroMaidan (євромайдан) gathered people who care about the future of Ukraine. I believe in the desired European change. We proved that Ukrainians care about the country they live in. We received the support of more than 22 countries across the world, which inspires us to spend another night at Euromaydan. The spirit there is speechless. Now, we are united in a European aspiration to proceed with the next stage of our development."
Misha, 21 years old
"There is a feeling that the country and people are in need of a change and it is not possible for us to wait any longer...there is no way back! I believe that what is happening now is earthshaking and will determine our future!"
Larisa, 31 years old
"I share the dream of the Ukrainian nation, to build a society free from post-Soviet ideas, methods of working and living. After the violent crackdown of the peaceful demonstration, for me it is not only about the Association Agreement with the EU, it is about standing against the crimes committed by the government against the country and its people. Not a single European nation shall allow their pseudo-leaders humiliate themselves. I don't want my country to be taken over by a dictatorship, because only the nation has a power to decide its faith, and I am ready to fight for it."
Student, 19 years old
I believe that the people of Ukraine have the right to choose their country's future. I believe in a European Ukraine, where people wake up to good news about people's achievements and progress, not to the news of Ukrainians being beaten on the main square of Ukraine's capital at night. I hope that Maidan Nezalezhnosti, a square that has seen Ukraine gaining independence in 1991, the Orange Revolution in 2004 and now EuroMaidan in 2013, will see a prosperous and free country in 2014 along with a proud nation of Ukrainians who fought for what they believed in.
Dedicated to the people of Ukraine, my fellow citizens and my friends.