Over 100,000 people gathered to decry the government's sudden decision to pull out of an EU free trade deal.

Ukrainians have taken to the Kiev streets, protesting the government's sudden decision not to sign a free trade deal with the European Union. Over 100,000 opponents gathered last Sunday, waving the flags of opposition parties and the EU. These are the most significant protests since the 2004 Orange Revolution.

Protestors say President Viktor Yanukovych caved to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who threatened to restrict trade and cut off gas supplies if Ukraine joins the EU. Putin wants Ukraine to instead join the Russian-led "Customs Union," which includes Belarus and Kazakhstan. 

Yanukovych was ousted as Prime Minister during the Orange Revolution, and returned as president in 2010. Opposition leaders at the most recent string of protests say they will attempt to impeach the president if he doesn't sign the EU trade pact Friday.

Earlier today, prime minister Azarov told reporters that Russia suggested Ukraine delay the EU treaty signing and instead enter three way talks between itself, Russia, and the EU, adding, "we absolutely do not want to be a battlefield between the EU and Russia. We want to have good relations with both the EU and Russia."

A poster, calling to boycott Russian-made goods, is attached to a lamp post in Kiev, November 26, 2013. The poster reads "Don't buy Russian." (REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko)
A protester holds a EU flag as he takes part in a rally to support EU integration in front of the Ukrainian cabinet of ministers building in Kiev November 26, 2013. (REUTERS/Gleb Garanich) 
Protesters clash with riot police during a rally to support European Union (EU) integration in central Kiev November 25, 2013 (REUTERS/Konstantin Chernichkin)
A woman treats riot policemen with chocolate during a rally in support of EU integration in front of the Ukrainian cabinet of ministers building in Kiev November 25, 2013. (REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko)
A protester kneels in front of police standing guard in front of the Ukrainian cabinet of ministers building during a rally in support of EU integration in Kiev November 25, 2013. (REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)
A man talks using speakers during a rally in support of EU integration in front of the Ukrainian cabinet of ministers building in Kiev November 25, 2013. (REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko) 
Riot policemen stand at an entrance of the Ukrainian cabinet of ministers building during a rally in support of EU integration in Kiev November 25, 2013. (REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko)
A protestor puts a blue handprint on a placard with a portrait of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich in a mark of protest as he takes part in a rally to support EU integration in central Kiev November 24, 2013. The banner reads "Ukraine for Yanukovich family." (REUTERS/Maks Levin)
Protesters clash with riot police during a rally to support EU integration in front of the Ukrainian cabinet of ministers building in Kiev November 24, 2013. (REUTERS/Konstantin Chernichkin)

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A young girl winces from the sting as she receives the polio vaccine in 1954.
    Life

    How Mandatory Vaccination Fueled the Anti-Vaxxer Movement

    To better understand the controversy over New York’s measles outbreak, you have to go back to the late 19th century.

  2. A photo of the Notre-Dame Cathedral fire in Paris.
    Design

    Amid Notre-Dame’s Destruction, There’s Hope for Restoration

    Flames consumed the roof and spire of the 13th-century cathedral in Paris. The good news: Gothic architecture is built to handle this kind of disaster.

  3. People eat and drink coffee inside a small coffeehouse.
    Life

    Gentrification Is Hurting Kuala Lumpur's Iconic Coffee Shops

    Traditional kopitiams, which serve sweetened coffee in no-frills surroundings, are a part of Malaysian national identity, but their survival is precarious.

  4. A photo of a closed street in St. Louis
    Equity

    The Curious Tale of the St. Louis Street Barriers

    Thanks to an '80s mania for traffic calming, the St. Louis grid is broken by hundreds of bollards and cul-de-sacs. Critics say it’s time to get rid of them.

  5. Design

    A New Plan to Correct a Historic Mistake in Pittsburgh

    A Bjarke Ingels Group-led plan from 2015 has given way to a more “practical” design for the Lower Hill District. Concerns over true affordable housing remain.