Page last updated at 14:49 GMT, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 15:49 UK

Ukraine timeline

A chronology of key events

1917 - Central Rada (Council) set up in Kiev following collapse of Russian Empire.

Sunset over Monastery of the Caves, Kiev
Kiev: The capital has a long and turbulent history
Population: 2.6 million
Founded in 6th-7th century AD
Capital of first East Slavic state by 9th century
1941-43: Occupied by German forces

1918 - Ukraine declares independence: Ukrainian People's Republic set up. Numerous rival governments vie for control for some or all of Ukraine during ensuing civil war.

1921 - Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic established as Russian Red Army conquers two-thirds of Ukraine. Western third becomes part of independent Poland.

1932 - Approximately 7 million peasants perish in man-made famine during Stalin's collectivisation campaign.

1937 - Mass executions and deportations as Stalin launches purge against intellectuals.

1941 - Ukraine suffers terrible wartime devastation as Nazis occupy the country until 1944. More than 5 million Ukrainians die fighting Nazi Germany. Most of Ukraine's 1.5 million Jews wiped out by the Nazis.

1944 - Stalin deports 200,000 Crimean Tatars to Siberia and Central Asia following accusations of collaboration with Nazi Germany.

1945 - Allied victory in World War II leads to conclusive Soviet annexation of western Ukrainian lands.

Orthodox Christmas service in St Volodymyr Cathedral, Kiev
Orthodox faith has some 10 million followers in Ukraine

1954 - Armed resistance to Soviet rule ends with defeat of Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA).

1960s - Increase in covert opposition to Soviet rule, leading to repression of dissidents in 1972.

1986 - A reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power station explodes, sending a radioactive plume across Europe. Desperate efforts are made to contain the damaged reactor within a huge concrete cover. Many armed forces personnel die of radiation sickness.

1988 - Prominent writers and intellectuals set up Ukrainian People's Movement for Restructuring (Rukh).

1990 - Student protests and hunger strikes bring down government of Vitaliy Masol.


1991 - Ukraine declares independence following attempted coup in Moscow: 90% vote for independence in nationwide referendum in December.

Chernobyl - scene of 1986 explosion
Chernobyl blast released a radioactive cloud over Europe

early to mid 1990s - About 250,000 Crimean Tatars and their descendants return to Crimea following collapse of Soviet Union.

1994 - Presidential elections: Leonid Kuchma succeeds Leonid Kravchuk.

1996 - New, democratic constitution adopted. New currency, the hryvna, introduced.

1997 - Friendship treaty signed with Russia. Ukraine and Russia also reach agreement on the Black Sea fleet.

1999 - Death penalty abolished. Nationalist leader Vyacheslav Chornovil killed in car crash. President Kuchma re-elected.

2000 - Chernobyl nuclear power plant is shut down, 14 years after the accident. Well over ten thousand people have died as a direct result of the explosion, the health of millions more has been affected.

Journalist murdered in controversial circumstances
Journalist Georgiy Gongadze was murdered in 2000

2001 February - The European Union calls for an inquiry into the murder of investigative journalist Georgiy Gongadze. Opposition demonstrations allege that President Kuchma was involved and call for his impeachment. President Kuchma denies the allegations.

2001 April - Viktor Yushchenko government dismissed following no-confidence vote in parliament. Mr Yushchenko was respected in the West for fighting corruption, pushing ahead with economic reforms and working to attract investment, but was unpopular with powerful Ukrainian businessmen.

2001 June - Pope John Paul II makes first visit to Ukraine amid protests by Orthodox Christians in Ukraine and Russia against the visit.

2001 October - Ukrainian military accidentally shoot down Russian air liner over the Black Sea, killing all 78 on board. Defence Minister Olexander Kuzmuk resigns.

2002 March - General election results in hung parliament. Parties opposed to President Kuchma allege widespread electoral fraud.

Saint-Sophia Cathedral, Kiev
Saint-Sophia Cathedral: A Byzantine landmark in Kiev

2002 May - Leadership announces decision to launch formal bid to join Nato.

2002 September - Opposition stages mass protests demanding resignation of President Kuchma whom they accuse of corruption and misrule.

Relations with the West are strained after US officials authenticate recordings in which they say Kuchma is heard to approve the sale of early-warning radar systems to Iraq. On the same tapes, recorded over two years previously, Kuchma is also allegedly heard ordering an official to "deal with" journalist Georgiy Gongadze.

2002 November - President Kuchma sacks Prime Minister Kinakh. Viktor Yanukovych, governor of Donetsk region, appointed to replace him. He promises to fight poverty and work for integration into Europe.

2003 March - Tens of thousands of people join Kiev demonstrations demanding that Kuchma resign.

Leonid Kuchma (2004 picture)
Leonid Kuchma's rule was tainted by scandal, corruption charges

2004 June - Consortium in which President Kuchma's son-in-law Viktor Pinchuk plays key role buys Krivorizhstal, the country's largest steel mill, for a bargain price.

2004 August - Ukraine ignores protests from EU and Romania by opening canal in the Danube delta which will link with Black Sea, rejecting claims that it will cause environmental damage.

"Orange Revolution"

Pro-Yushchenko demonstrators in Kiev
Orange-clad opposition supporters took to Kiev's streets

2004 November - Official count indicates presidential election victory for Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych. Western and other independent observers report widespread vote rigging. Opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko launches campaign of mass street protest and civil disobedience. Supreme Court later annuls result of poll.

2004 December - Opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko tops poll in election re-run. Rival candidate Viktor Yanukovych challenges result but resigns as prime minister.

2005 January - Viktor Yushchenko sworn in as president after Supreme Court rejects challenge by losing candidate Mr Yanukovych.

2005 February - President's nominee Yulia Tymoshenko overwhelmingly approved as prime minister by parliament.

2005 Februrary - Court annuls June 2004 sale of Krivorizhstal.

2005 March - President Yushchenko announces that suspected killers of journalist Georgiy Gongadze are in custody. He also accuses the former authorities of a cover-up.

Former Interior Minister Kravchenko, who had been due to give evidence in Gongadze investigation, shot dead in apparent suicide.

Tymoshenko sacked

Russia cuts off gas
A row with Russia over gas prices disrupted supplies

2005 September - President Yushchenko dismisses the government of Yulia Tymoshenko. Parliament approves Yuri Yekhanurov as her successor.

2005 October - Krivorizhstal reauctioned. Mittal Steel pays six times the price paid for it when it was originally put up for sale.

Gas price row

2006 January - Russia briefly cuts supply of gas for Ukrainian use in row over prices. Moscow says its reasons are purely economic but Kiev says they are political.

Previously agreed changes to constitution shift some significant powers from the president to parliament.

Yulia Tymoshenko (left), Viktor Yanukovych
Rivals: Yulia Tymoshenko (left) and Viktor Yanukovych

The trial of three former policemen charged with killing opposition journalist Georgiy Gongadze begins in Kiev.

2006 March - Viktor Yanukovych's party tops polls in parliamentary elections. Yulia Tymoshenko's takes second place, leaving President Yushchenko's trailing in third.

Political wrangles

2006 June-July - After months of bargaining, the backers of the Orange Revolution - the Yushchenko and Tymoshenko blocs and the Socialists - agree on a coalition, but the deal collapses. The Socialists opt instead for a coalition with Viktor Yanukovych's Party of Regions and the Communists.

2006 August - Faced with a deadline to accept Viktor Yanukovych's nomination or call new elections, President Yushchenko agrees that his rival can become prime minister.

2007 February - Boris Tarasyuk, a close ally of the president and a strong advocate of strong ties with Europe and Nato, resigns as foreign minister after a protracted row with parliament.

2007 September - Parliamentary elections. No clear winner emerges, although pro-Russian parties gain a narrow majority.

Tymoshenko returns

2007 December - Yulia Tymoshenko is appointed prime minister again, in coalition with President Yushchenko's party.

2008 March - Russia's state-owned company, Gazprom, agrees new contract to supply Ukraine's industrial consumers directly, ending row over gas supply.

Economic woes

2008 October - Global financial crisis leads to decline in demand for steel, causing price of one of the country's main exports to collapse. Value of Ukrainian currency falls sharply and investors pull out.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) offers Ukraine a loan of $16.5bn (£10.4bn) to help it weather the storm.

2009 January - Russia stops all gas supplies to Ukraine after collapse of talks to end row over unpaid bills and prices, leading to shortages in southeast Europe. Supplies are restored a week later when Ukraine and Russia sign a 10-year deal on gas transit.

2009 July - Ukrainian security service says a key suspect in the murder of the opposition journalist Georgiy Gongadze in 2000 has been arrested and has confessed to the killing.

2009 December - Ukraine and Russia sign deal on oil transit for 2010, allaying fears of supply cuts to Europe.

Yanukovych comeback

2010 February - Viktor Yanukovych is declared winner of second round of presidential election. His main rival, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, refuses to accept the result, alleging fraud.

2010 March - Yulia Tymoshenko steps down from the premiership after a number of her supporters in parliament switch sides and she loses a no-confidence vote. President Yanukovych appoints his long-standing ally Mykola Azarov to succeed her.

2010 April - Ukraine agrees to eliminate its stockpile of weapons-grade nuclear material ahead of the Washington nuclear security summit.

Parliament ratifies an agreement to extend Russia's lease on the Black Sea fleet base at Sevastopol in Crimea for 25 years, in return for cheaper gas imports.

2010 June - Parliament votes to abandon Nato membership aspirations.

2010 July - International media freedom watchdogs criticise a Kiev court's decision to cancel the allocation of broadcasting frequencies to two privately-run TV channels.

2010 October - Constitutional court overturns limits on presidential power introduced in 2004.

2010 November - President Yanukovych vetoes a tax reform that had prompted thousands of business owners and opposition activists to protest in city centres nationwide. The reform aimed to plug the gap in Ukraine's finances demanded by the terms of an IMF loan.

2010 December - Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko are charged with abuse of state funds. Both deny the charges and say they are politically motivated.

2011 March - Ex-President Leonid Kuchma is charged over the 2000 murder of journalist Georgiy Gongadze. He denies any part in the killing.

2011 April - The main suspect in the Gongadze killing, former interior minister official Olexiy Pukach, goes on trial. He is said to have confessed to strangling and beheading Gongadze.

2011 October - A court jails former PM Tymoshenko after finding her guilty of abuse of power over a gas deal with Russia in 2009. EU warns Ukraine of "profound implications".

2011 May - Ukraine postpones a summit of Central and East European leaders in Yalta after the presidents of Germany, Austria, Romania and the Czech Republic and other officials say they will boycott it over the treatment of jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko. She says she was beaten in prison. Leading German politicians call for a boycott of the Euro 2012 football championship.

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