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