What's wrong with Ukraine in 2019

Crimean crisis - a chronology How the Crimea became Russian 7 years ago

February 21, 2014

In the Ukrainian capital Kiev, the violent clashes between the demonstrators on the Maidan and the security forces come to a head. In the evening there were rumors that President Viktor Yanukovych had fled. The rumors are confirmed and the "Maidan Revolution" takes its course. The opposition says it has taken power in Ukraine.

In the capital of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, in Simferopol, due to the violent clashes in Kiev, members of parliament wanted to turn to the Russian President Putin and ask him for support in the critical situation. The non-parliamentary organized Crimean Tatars are preventing the request for help from being sent.

February 26, 2014

Violent clashes broke out in front of the parliament building in Simferopol between pro-Russian demonstrators and supporters of the Ukrainian leadership in Kiev. Two people die and several dozen are injured.

February 27, 2014

About 30 heavily armed soldiers without national badges (later called the "green men") occupy the Crimean parliament building in the capital Simferopol in the early hours of the morning. They are calling for a date to be set for a referendum on Crimea as a country to belong to.

Then the MP Sergei Aksionov, a member of the small party "Russian Unity", was elected Prime Minister of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. The meeting is secret, journalists are not invited and there are only MPs personally invited by Aksionov. 61 out of 64 MPs present vote in favor of Aksionov and decide that a referendum on whether Crimea is a state should be held on March 16, 2014.

Early March 2014

When asked by a journalist whether he might consider Crimea to join Russia, President Putin said: "No, we are not considering that." He went on to say that we "do not want to make such a decision or arouse such feelings." An outright lie, as it turns out a year later.

March 16, 2014

The "referendum on the status of Crimea" is held. Around 1.5 million eligible voters have the option of either opting for reunification with Russia or staying in Ukraine.

The turnout is 82 percent. 85.5 percent vote for a connection to Russia, 3.5 percent are in favor of Crimea remaining in the Ukraine.

17th March 2014

The Prime Minister of the Republic of Crimea, Sergei Aksionov, decides to send a request for admission to Russian President Putin the next day.

March 18, 2014

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister of Crimea Sergei Aksionov sign the Crimean Accession Treaty to Russia in Moscow.

March 19, 2014

The Russian Constitutional Court approves the accession agreement and confirms its legality.

March 20, 2014

The Russian parliament, the Duma, votes on the accession treaty: 433 parliamentarians vote for the accession of Crimea to Russia, only one member votes against. 300 yes votes would have been needed to let the treaty pass.

April 16, 2014

The Crimea is adopting a new constitution. The Crimea is now considered an "unalterable part of the Russian Federation". The official languages ​​are Russian, Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar.

June 1, 2014

The Russian ruble is declared the official currency in Crimea. The previous currency, the Ukrainian hryvnia, is now considered a foreign currency.

December 14, 2014

In a speech to the Duma, Vladimir Putin said that the accession of Crimea to Russia, contrary to allegations from the West, was in full compliance with international law. "The Crimea is as sacred to us," says Putin, "like Muslims and Jews are the Temple Mount in Jerusalem."

February 2015

In a television documentary, President Putin frankly admitted that he decided on the morning of February 23, 2014 to tie Crimea to Russia because of the increasing loss of power of the pro-Russian Ukrainian President Yanukovych. After a nightly meeting, he gave the heads of the security services the order: "We have to start bringing Crimea back to Russia."

11th August 2016

Russian President Vladimir Putin accuses Ukraine of sending "saboteurs and assassins" to Crimea and planning attacks in Crimea. The Ukrainian head of state Poroshenko meanwhile puts his troops on heightened alert.

The UN Security Council meets in New York because of the tense situation in Crimea. The Ukrainian ambassador to the UN expressed concern that Russia had concentrated 40,000 soldiers on the Russian-Ukrainian border. "That number could indicate bad intentions," he says.

The Russian UN ambassador, on the other hand, insists that Ukraine is clearly responsible for "acts of sabotage and terrorism" in Crimea.

18th September 2016

The parliamentary elections for the State Duma are taking place in Russia. For the first time, the residents of Crimea are also eligible to vote. Sharp criticism of this comes from Kiev. The Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin says: "The elections are taking place in Crimea, which, according to international law, belongs to Ukraine. That is why they are void for me, both legally and politically." The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has already announced in advance that it will not send any election observers to the peninsula, but it is sending 370 observers to Russia.

According to the unanimous opinion of the member states, the Crimea is not part of the area under observation, says the Swedish diplomat Jan Petersen of the Russian newspaper "Izvestia". Moscow's answer is as brief as it is provocative: "The Crimea is part of Russia. That is why we are not interested in whether someone recognizes the election or not," said Dmitrij Peskow, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

20th October 2016

In Berlin, Chancellor Merkel receives the Russian President Vladimir Putin, his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko, and France's François Hollande in the so-called Normandy format for the first peace talks in over a year. The six-hour conversation is overshadowed by the situation in Aleppo, where Russia, together with the Syrian ruler Assad, is about to recapture the metropolis. After the meeting, Poroshenko announced that there was now a roadmap for lasting peace in eastern Ukraine. Merkel speaks more cautiously of a "thick board" that still needs to be drilled. None of the participants in the discussion publicly discussed the situation in Crimea.

January 16, 2017

Ukraine is submitting a complaint against Russia to the United Nations International Court of Justice (ICJ). In it, she accuses Moscow of financing terrorist organizations in eastern Ukraine and discriminating against minorities in Crimea. Tartars and ethnic Ukrainians in particular are said to be excluded from political participation there. Kiev also calls on the ICJ to take immediate action against Russia until a possible trial can be reached.

14./15. February 2017

Surprisingly, the new US President Donald Trump calls for the return of Crimea to Ukraine. This is causing outrage in Moscow. "Crimea is a part of Russia. All statements about the separation of Crimea from Russia are an attack on our territorial integrity," said Parliament President Vyacheslav Volodin. Foreign Office spokeswoman Maria Sakharova affirmed: "We are not giving back our own territory."

March 6th - 9th, 2017

Representatives of Ukraine and Russia present their positions on the Kiev complaint in a first hearing before the ICJ in The Hague. Russia reiterates its criticism that the ICJ is not competent. The latter must first decide whether to grant the Ukrainian request for immediate measures. Only then does the ICJ make a final decision on a possible legal action against Russia. Any process could take years.

15th May 2018

Russia opens its controversial bridge to Crimea. An important connection, because after the annexation of the peninsula in 2014, the only land route to Crimea led through Ukraine. And Russia is locked.

November 25, 2018

In the Kerch Strait off the Crimean peninsula, the Russian coast guard refused to allow patrol boats of the Ukrainian Navy and rammed one of the ships. Three Ukrainian ships were confiscated and 24 seafarers were arrested. Ukrainian President Poroshenko has declared martial law for the next 30 days in the face of the conflict with Russia in the Sea of ​​Azov.

March 27, 2019

In a resolution tabled by Ukraine, the General Assembly of the United Nations reaffirmed the territorial integrity of Ukraine and declared the 2014 referendum in Crimea to be invalid.

The Russian government emphasized again: The clear result of the referendum was an expression of the will of the Crimean population to join the Russian Federation. This goes hand in hand with the self-determination of this group and Russia has an obligation to protect the Russians living in Ukraine. That is why the events are by no means an annexation

March 31, 2019

The actor and comedian Volodymyr Selenskyj wins the first round of the presidential elections in Ukraine.

April 21, 2019

Zelenskyi wins the runoff election for president with 73 percent of the vote.

May 20, 2019

Zelenskyi's first official act as the new president is to dissolve parliament and announce new elections within the next few months.

July 8, 2019

During the Ukraine-EU summit in Kiev, which was also attended by EU Council President Donald Tusk and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Zelenskyi proposed direct joint talks to Vladimir Putin in a video message in Minsk, Belarus, on a peaceful solution to the war in Ukraine.

11th July 2019

First telephone conversation between Presidents Zelenskyi and Putin. "The focus was on the issue of the release of the captured marines," said the press service of the Ukrainian head of state. "There was also talk of other Ukrainian citizens who are on the territory of the Russian Federation."

July 21, 2019

Early parliamentary elections are taking place in Ukraine. The party of the Ukrainian President Sluha narodu (Servant of the People) won the absolute majority of seats in the new parliament with 43 percent of the votes cast and 130 direct seats. Thus, Servant of the People, as the first party in independent Ukraine at all, can form a government without the participation of other parties.

September 7, 2019

Russia and Ukraine each exchange 35 prisoners. On the Ukrainian side, these include the 24 seafarers arrested off the Crimea in November 2018. The exchange is seen as an important step in the stagnating peace process and is particularly welcomed in Ukraine.

18th November 2019

Russia is returning the three Ukrainian warships seized in the Kerch Strait in November 2018. The Russian Foreign Ministry reiterates that the three warships "illegally crossed" the Russian border. The ships were then confiscated as evidence. In the event of further "provocations" on the Russian border, according to the ministry, "crackdowns" will continue.

December 10, 2019

Ukraine summit in Paris. Russia and Ukraine aim to reach a full ceasefire in eastern Ukraine by the end of 2019. In the so-called Normandy format, Presidents Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Selenskyj also agree, with Franco-German mediation, on further steps to withdraw troops on both sides of the demarcation line

23 December 2019

The official commissioning of the railway line takes place on the Crimean Bridge. Russian President Putin is also present at the opening tour. The trains from Saint Petersburg to Sevastopol in Crimea now take around 45 hours - still more than nine hours longer than the connections through Ukraine, which were discontinued in 2014.

August 25, 2020

"We shouldn't have let them take Crimea. That's a big problem. We just shouldn't have let it," said Ukrainian President Seleskyj in an interview with "euronews". "But today there is no point in worrying about how it happened. I am sure that one day those responsible will be held accountable."

August 2020

Drought disaster in the Crimea. Ukraine had already turned off the water in Crimea in 2014. The extremely hot summer is now drying up the peninsula. There are concerns in Ukraine that Russia would solve the problem by military means.

October 7, 2020

The 22nd EU-Ukraine Summit will take place in Brussels. The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selenskyj calls on the EU to further sanctions against Russia.

November 21, 2020

President Putin extends the food embargo against the EU and other states. The Russian President's embargo is seen as a reaction to the sanctions imposed by Western states following the occupation of Crimea.

December 8, 2020

The UN demands an immediate end to the Russian occupation of Crimea.

February 26, 2021

"The US does not recognize the alleged annexation of the peninsula by Russia and will never do so," says the new US President Joe Biden on the occasion of the seventh anniversary of the Russian invasion of Crimea. "The Crimea is the Ukraine," emphasizes Biden. President Zelenskyi thanks Biden for not recognizing the annexation of Crimea.