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The rallies were initially peaceful but became violent in January 2014 after Parliament, dominated by Yanukovych's supporters, passed laws intended to repress the protests.
Yanukovych accepted "bail-out" money— billion out of a billion package—from Russia, and this was interpreted as a sign that he would seek close ties with Putin.
On the same day, Yanukovych left for Kharkiv to attend a summit of southeastern regions, according to media reports.
On 22 February, the protesters were reported to be in control of Kiev, and Yanukovych was said to have fled the capital for eastern Ukraine.
On 28 February, Yanukovych attended a press conference in southern Russia and answered questions from mostly Russian reporters.
He said that the early presidential elections scheduled for late May were illegal and that he "would not be participating in them".
Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, the interim head of Ukraine's SBU state security agency, said the agents had been stationed in Kiev throughout the Euromaidan protests, had been provided with "state telecommunications" while residing at an SBU compound, and had kept in regular contact with Ukrainian security officials.
"We have substantiated grounds to consider that these very groups which were located at an SBU training ground took part in the planning and execution of activities of this so-called antiterrorist operation," Nalyvaichenko said.
Russian officials had been pressuring the Ukrainian administration to take decisive action to crush the protests, and the police assault on Euromaidan protesters was ordered hours after the billion from Russia was transferred.
colonel of the Main Intelligence Directorate of Russia (GRU), Aleksandr Musienko, said that the conflict could only be solved by force, and that Ukraine had proven it could not exist as an independent, sovereign state.
At least 82 people were killed over the next few days, including 13 policemen; more than 1,100 people were injured.
On 18 February, some 20,000 Euromaidan protesters advanced on Ukraine's parliament in support of restoring the Constitution of Ukraine to its 2004 form, which had been repealed by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine shortly after Yanukovych was elected president in 2010. The confrontation turned violent; the BBC, citing correspondents, reported that each side blamed the other.
The police fired guns with both rubber bullets and, later, live ammunition (including automatic weapons and sniper rifles), while also using tear gas and flash grenades in an attempt to repel thousands of demonstrators.