The first time I visited Ukraine, I came through Krakow, Poland and visited the western Ukrainian city of L’viv. After my time in L’viv, I went deeper into Ukraine and after an overnight train ride from L’viv, made it to Kyiv.
It was winter time and the Maidan revolution had just recently occurred. Ukraine -a newly formed country after the dissolution of the USSR- was moving towards allying with NATO and the west.
The Ukrainian president was Victor Yanukovich. He appeared to be a Russian puppet and had refused to sign an agreement with the European Union in favor of allying the country more with Russia. The people did not want to be aligned with Russia since not too long ago, the soviet government under Stalin committed a genocide against Ukraine in a forced mass starvation of the population. This genocide is known as the Terror Famine or Holodomor. When it became clear Yanukovich was controlled by Russia, mass protests erupted and the clashes grew to a showdown between opposition leaders and the government. While thousands of people amassed in the central square, violence broke out between the police and protestors and about 130 people were killed. The government was eventually overthrown and Yanukovich fled his opulent mansion to Russia.
Shortly after -and in retaliation- Russia began it’s invasion of Ukraine through mercenaries and attacked the eastern cities of Donetsk, Mariupol and others while invading and taking the whole Crimean peninsula from Ukraine.
Putin, a product of the Soviet Union and a former KGB officer, will not allow Ukraine to be independent from Russia which is why he is currently amassing even more military forces on the border. Many people fear a full invasion and takeover of the country, we will soon see what happens.