Ukraine has seen military and political confrontation since autumn 2013. A 'Revolution of Dignity' was followed by a disputed referendum in and the annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea by Russia in March 2014. Fighting between the National Army and armed groups in the Luhansk and Donetsk areas of Eastern Ukraine, known as the Donbass, has since led to more than 7,000 deaths and 1.5 million people being displaced.
The immediate trigger for the conflict was the removal of then-President Viktor Yanukovych from office in February 2014 as the culmination of the Euromaidan movement. This saw months of protests in Kiev in particular, and led to many deaths among protesters and government security forces.
Following the ouster of Yanukovych, political agitation then spread across much of eastern Ukraine. The referendum, and the support allegedly provided by Russia, allowed separatist movements in these regions to to launch a military rebellion, which nominally ended with the Minsk Agreement in February 2015. However, the ceasefire has been repeatedly broken, and armed violence continues.
Last updated: April 2015