As Ukrainians mark the third anniversary of the Maidan uprising that toppled former president Viktor Yanukovich, the U.S. is demanding that Russia honor the Minsk agreements, intended to end the violence in eastern Ukraine.
Speaking to leaders gathered at Munich Security Conference, Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday “the United States will continue to hold Russia accountable, even as we search for new common ground, which as you know President Trump believes can be found.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov later told reporters that after a meeting with his counterparts from France, Germany and Ukraine, the four countries had agreed to try to implement a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine starting Monday, alongside the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front line.
Fighting that started almost three years ago, after the Maidan uprising, has escalated again in recent weeks, threatening to sink the 2015 Minsk accords that aimed to secure a cease-fire and more autonomy for rebel-held regions of eastern Ukraine.
Public protests erupted in Kyiv in November 2013 following the Ukrainian government’s decision to suspend preparations for an association treaty with the European Union (EU) and to seek closer economic relations with Russia.
The protests, which soon escalated into a violent nationwide movement against the authorities, lasted for months and came to a head in mid-February 2014.
More than 100 people were killed and hundreds of others wounded in unprecedented clashes in Kyiv between February 18 and 20, 2014.
Saturday and Sunday, people waved Ukrainian flags and laid wreaths to pay respect to those who were gunned down during the uprising.