Ukraine’s pro-democracy, pro-Europe demonstrations in Maidan square a decade ago marked the “first victory” in its war with Russia, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declared on the anniversary of the popular protest movement.
Nearly 100 civilians died in violent clashes with security forces when Ukrainians took to the streets of the capital in 2013, demanding to move Ukraine out of the orbit of Vladimir Putin’s Russia and “join” the family of European democracies to which it “historically belongs”.
The “Revolution of Dignity” protests ultimately led to the ouster of Kremlin-backed President Victor Yanukovych and gave space to the rise of a new generation of anticorruption, pro-democracy movement leaders.
“The first victory in today’s war took place. A victory against indifference. A victory of courage. The victory of the Revolution of Dignity,” Zelenskyy said in a statement on Tuesday.
He praised his country’s progress towards gaining membership in the European Union since Russian forces invaded Ukraine in February of last year.
“Year after year, step by step, we do our best to ensure that our star shines in the circle of stars on the EU flag, which symbolises the unity of the peoples of Europe. The star of Ukraine,” he said.
His comments come as Russian forces chip away at Ukraine’s sovereignty and continue their full-on invasion of their smaller neighbour.
A number of foreign leaders made trips to Kyiv in a show of solidarity. German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius arrived by train for an unannounced visit to reaffirm Berlin’s backing for Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s troops.
“I am here again, firstly to pledge further support, but also to express our solidarity and deep bond and also our admiration for the courageous, brave and costly fight that is being waged here,” he said laying flowers at Maidan square in central Kyiv.