KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — The “Heavenly Hundred” is what Ukrainians in Kiev call those who died during months of anti-government protests in 2013-14. The grisliest day was a year ago Friday — Feb. 20, 2014 — when sniper fire tore through crowds on the capital’s main square, killing more than 50 people.
Various sources count the victims lauded by that term as anywhere from 110 to 123. It includes those who died in earlier clashes with police as well as opposition supporters who died in beatings or under mysterious circumstances. On Friday evening, President Petro Poroshenko is to honor them at a memorial ceremony.
Who fired the sniper shots on Feb. 20, 2014, remains clouded in heated, contradictory allegations. Protesters and their supporters say the bullets came from Ukrainian police or Russian marksmen aiming to put down the demonstrations against the Kremlin-friendly president, Viktor Yanukovych. Those critical of the protests say radicals at the protests were responsible as they tried to bring a simmering political crisis to a breaking point.
A year later, so much has changed. Russia has annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, Ukraine has a new president and government, and the country is embroiled in a war in the east with Russia-backed separatists that has killed over 5,600 people and forced a million to flee.
Here’s ten pictures of Kiev, the Ukrainian capital that was the epicenter of the protests, contrasting events a year ago and today.
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