Noted on Digopaul, Ukraine population in 2020 is estimated at 43,733,773. Ukraine is a country located in Eastern Europe. It was an extremely dramatic year with a collapsed regime, lost Crimean peninsula and civil war in eastern Ukraine, where the Russian military participated.
In January, the protests from the previous year in Kiev against President Viktor Yanukovych’s continued cooperation agreement with the EU continued. The government responded with stricter laws to demonstrations including harsh prison sentences. Nevertheless, hundreds of thousands of people went out in protest, and it became violent with death victims and many injured. In western Ukraine, government offices were occupied. After talks with the opposition, Yanukovych made sure to repeal the new anti-protest laws.
In February, violence raged in riots and deadly shootings, when over 100 people were killed in and around the Independence Square in Kiev, most civilians but also police. Hundreds were injured. Yanukovych accused the opposition of coup attempts, but the EU decided to impose sanctions on the regime.
Yanukovych, the opposition and foreign ministers from the EU negotiated unity government, new constitution and earlier elections. A law was passed that could open for the release of imprisoned opposition leader Julija Tymoshenko.
The protesters demanded Yanukovych’s departure. He left Kiev, and on February 22, Parliament decided to dismiss him. Tymoshenko was released and her ally Oleksandr Turtynov was elected new president and became acting president. Orders came to seize Yanukovych, who, however, fled across the Russian border. Moscow talked about the coup in Kiev, stopped financial contributions and initiated military maneuvers near the Ukrainian border.
The Berkut security force was dissolved following charges of the shooting deaths in Kiev. Parliament elected a new government led by Arsenij Jatsenjuk and dominated by the Fatherland and partyless but also with the right-wing nationalist Svoboda. The Crimean peninsula’s Russian-speaking majority protested against the new regime. The region’s parliament and two airports were taken over by armed men who were believed to belong to the Russian naval base in Crimea. Kiev accused Moscow and increased Ukraine’s military readiness. The Crimean parliament elected a new Russian-friendly regional government and decided on a referendum on Crimea’s position.
In March, Russian President Vladimir Putin received a Duma clearance to militarily intervene in Ukraine if Russian life was threatened there. Crimean parliament voted for independence, and in a referendum, 96.7% voted to join Crimea to the Russian Federation. That figure later turned out to be greatly exaggerated.
The vote was rejected by Kiev. The EU and the US imposed sanctions on Crimea and Moscow. But the Kremlin annexed Crimea, and Prorean forces occupied Ukrainian military bases there. However, Kiev evacuated its military from Crimea without a fight.
Russian Gazprom raised gas prices to Ukraine by more than 80% and demanded debt. The EU, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the United States with several pledged loans and other support equivalent to approximately SEK 190 billion. The IMF’s terms were market economy reforms.
In eastern Ukraine, Prorian demonstrations went into violent deaths. Armed separatists tried to take control in several cities. In April, a heavily armed group entered a police station in Slovjansk, demanding the death of a soldier in battle with the Ukrainian military. Kiev decided to deploy the army against the separatists.
More and more cities fell under precarious control, and the United States claimed to have evidence that Russian soldiers participated in the fighting. Moscow refused but threatened to strike if Russian interests were damaged. In May, at least 42 people were killed in Odessa after a union building was set on fire. In eastern Ukraine, the deaths counted for hundreds, and Kiev deployed a paramilitary force, led by Nazi-drenched ultranationalists and with foreign mercenaries, even from Sweden.
In the Luhansk and Donetsk counties in the east, the population voted for independence, and the “People’s Republic of Donetsk” wanted to be admitted into the Russian Federation. The vote was condemned in Kiev and Europe.
In Ukraine’s presidential election in May, entrepreneur Petro Poroshenko won in the first round with just over 54% of the vote over former Prime Minister Julija Tymoshenko’s just under 13%. Popular boxing world champion Vitalij Klytjko was elected mayor of Kiev.
Immediately after the election, Prorussian separatists entered the airport in Donetsk, and at least 40 casualties were demanded when the Ukrainian military recovered it. But in June, Poroshenko and Putin met and advocated a ceasefire. During his installation, Poroshenko presented a peace plan and spoke to the separatists in Russian. At the same time, he emphasized that Crimea should belong to Ukraine and that the country should approach the EU. Then Poroshenko announced a cease-fire, which the separatists agreed to. In Moscow, Putin asked Parliament to revoke the invasion of Ukraine, but Gazprom stopped its gas supplies since the price negotiations collapsed.
At the end of June, Ukraine in Brussels signed the Association Agreement with the EU, which the former Kiev regime rejected. Ukraine was gradually offered duty-free trade and financial support, and in return it had to reform the judiciary and economy, fight corruption and respect for human rights.
When a Malaysian passenger plane with nearly 300 people aboard in July was shot down over eastern Ukraine, the Prorean separatists were suspected. Moscow was accused by the West of having supplied anti-aircraft robots.
The Ukrainian government ended up in crisis when Svoboda left the coalition and Udar withdrew his support. Parliament, however, voted in favor of the extra defense appropriations and increased taxes required to obtain IMF aid loans. The government crisis did not resolve, and Poroshenko announced a new election until October.
In August, ten Russian paratroopers were captured in eastern Ukraine, which Kiev saw as evidence of Russian military presence in the country. Moscow claimed they were lost, but Kiev stated that Russian tanks were on their way to southeastern Ukraine and regular Russian allies were in the cities to the east.
Poroshenko and Putin met in Belarus, where Putin promised to support a roadmap for peace. At the same time, he referred to southeastern Ukraine as “Novorossija” (New Russia), a name from the Tsarist era.
In September, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported that close to 1.1 million people had been forced to leave their homes for the fighting and that more than 800,000 of them had gone to the Russian Federation. According to Amnesty International, both parties were guilty of serious war crimes, and according to the World Health Organization (WHO), health care was in crisis.
Kiev and the separatists agreed on a ceasefire and prisoner exchange monitored by the European OSCE. A humanitarian corridor would be established, and Donetsk and Luhansk will receive special status with their own choices. Self-government laws for the two cities were passed.
The ceasefire was broken, but hundreds of Ukrainian prisoners of war were released, and most Russian soldiers were killed, according to Poroshenko. However, NATO claimed that large Russian troop movements were going back and forth across the border. At the same time, in western Ukraine, a few hundred American soldiers participated in military maneuvers with soldiers from 15 countries.
Following Russian opposition to Ukraine’s agreement with the EU, the free trade part was postponed for one year. Putin demanded significant changes to the agreement under threat, but the EU rejected all Russian influence. In October, Ukraine, the Russian Federation and the EU agreed on gas deliveries from the Russian Federation to Ukraine through the winter, on the condition that Ukraine first pay its gas debt and then pay in advance.
In November, the United Nations reported that over 4,300 people had been killed in fighting in eastern Ukraine since April. Nearly 10,000 had been injured. The UN and the OSCE reported on human rights abuses there and in Crimea.
The war was estimated to give a 10% fall in GDP during the year. Foreign investment failed and capital flowed out of the country. Ukraine was considered in need of the equivalent of around SEK 100 billion in new emergency loans, but Sweden and other Western countries demanded political and economic reform as conditions for support.
Parliamentary elections could be held in October despite concerns, and it was approved by international election observers. Only more than half of those entitled to vote participated. The winner was Presidential Party Petro Poroshenko’s block (formerly Solidarity) with 132 seats before Prime Minister Jatsenjuks Folk Front with 82 seats, followed by the related Self-Help with 33 seats. Thus, the Western-oriented and EU-friendly parties won a big victory. Former Prime Minister Julija Tymoshenko’s Motherland was in some distress over the five percent barrier and was given 19 terms since her former followers followed Jatsenjuk to the People’s Front.
Few voters voted in eastern Ukraine, and the ousted and exiled President Yanukovych’s opposition party received only 29 seats. The election was boycotted by the Prorian separatists who a week later made their own elections in the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. Those elections were rejected by the Kiev government and the EU.
Prime Minister Jatsenjuk’s new government was approved by Parliament in December. It consisted of five parties, including Petro Poroshenko’s Blocks, the People’s Front and the Tymoshenko Party.