Timeline of unrest in east Ukraine11 may 2014, 14:51
Following is a timeline of the main developments in the Ukraine crisis.
The unrest erupted in the east and south of the former Soviet republic after pro-European protesters ousted the Kremlin-backed government in Kiev on February 22.
- 6: Pro-Russian demonstrators seize government buildings in several towns in eastern Ukraine, including Donetsk, Kharkiv and Lugansk.
- 7: Pro-Russians in Donetsk declare an "independent republic".
Ukraine accuses Russia of wanting to invade it and break it up.
- 12: Pro-Russian militants launch offensives in Slavyansk and Kramatorsk, where they take over the police headquarters.
- 13: Kiev announces "anti-terrorist" operation in the east.
- 16: Ukrainian troops turn back from Slavyansk, after pro-Russians seize six armoured vehicles.
Militants seize Donetsk town hall.
- 17: A Geneva deal is reached between Ukraine, Russia, the US and EU to "de-escalate" tensions.
- 18: The Kremlin confirms Russia has built up troops on the border. NATO puts the deployment at 40,000.
- 22: In Kiev, US Vice President Joe Biden says Russia faces "isolation". Washington orders 600 soldiers to Poland and ex-Soviet Baltic states.
The first company-sized contingent of about 150 U.S. paratroopers from the U.S. Army's 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team based in Italy march as they arrive to participate in training exercises with the Polish army in Swidwin, northern west Poland. ©Reuters/Kacper Pempel
- 24: Ukraine military launches assault on Slavyansk. Five rebels are killed, according to Kiev. Russian President Vladimir Putin says there will be "consequences".
- 25: Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk accuses Moscow of seeking a "third world war".
Seven OSCE military observers detained in Slavyansk.
- 26: Yatsenyuk cuts short a Vatican trip, saying Russian warplanes violated Ukraine's airspace. Russia denies the claim.
- 28: West imposes new sanctions on Moscow. Russia vows "painful" response.
NATO says no sign of a Russia troop pullback claimed by Moscow.
Russia assures US it will not invade Ukraine.
A pro-Russian activist holds a sign during a rally in Donetsk, Eastern Ukraine. ©Reuters/Baz Ratner
- 29: Russia warns sanctions could harm Western interests in Russia's lucrative energy sector, denies there are Russian forces in eastern Ukraine.
- 30: Kiev places its armed forces on "combat alert" against a possible Russian invasion, admits police are "helpless" to stop rebels over-running eastern towns.
The IMF approves $17-billion aid package for the beleaguered Ukrainian economy.
- 1: Some 300 pro-Russian militants seize the prosecutor's office in Donetsk amid violent clashes with police.
Conscription reintroduced for all Ukrainian men aged 18-25.
A crowd of some 300 pro-Russian separatists clash with riot police as they storm the prosecutor's office in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk. ©AFP
- 2: The bloodiest day since the new government came to power. At least 10 die in fresh army assault on Slavyansk. In the southern city of Odessa, 42 die when clashes between pro-Russian militants and pro-Ukraine supporters culminate in a massive blaze.
Russia declares Geneva peace plan dead and calls emergency UN Security Council meeting.
Obama says will step up sanctions if Moscow's actions prevent a planned May 25 presidential election in Ukraine.
Ukrainian soldiers (foreground) face Pro-Russia separatists blocking the Kramators to Slavyansk road to prevent the Ukrainian national guard troops from advancing. ©AFP
- 3: Slavyansk rebels free OSCE inspectors after Kremlin envoy intervenes.
Fierce firefights around Slavyansk and nearby towns as military seeks to retake control.
- 4: Kiev vows to expand "anti-terrorism" operations.
Yatsenyuk launches probe into Odessa deaths.
Pro-Russian militants, who were arrested during a Ukrainian unity rally on May 2, react after being freed by police, following the storming of a police station in the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa. ©AFP
- 5: Fresh assault on Slavyansk. Interior minister says more than 30 rebels killed. Four servicemen also killed. Helicopter shot down.
Russia warns Europe's peace at risk.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon offers to mediate personally as West launches new diplomatic push.
- 6: Russia slaps down German-led move for new peace meeting. Germany says Ukraine on verge of war.
- 7: In surprise announcement, Putin calls for rebel independence referendums to be pushed back and endorses Ukraine's planned presidential election. Says Russian troops pulled back from border.
Ukraine receives $3.19 billion in first slice of IMF aid.
New overall toll from Ukrainian military operations stands at 14 servicemen dead.
Mourners attend the funeral of three combatants and a civilian who were killed in clashes between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists. ©Reuters/Baz Ratner
- 8: Rebels vow to press on with referendum despite Putin's call.
Russia conducts military exercises, test-fires several missiles, says nuclear capabilities on "constant combat alert".
NATO says no sign of Russian troop pull-back.
- 9: Putin flies to annexed Crimea after overseeing display of military might in Red Square where he paid tribute to Russia's "all-conquering patriotic force".
Clashes break out in Mariupol that the interior minister says leave 21 dead.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (C) and World War II veterans law flowers at a war memorial during their visit s the Crimean port of Sevastopol. ©AFP
-10: Donetsk rebels briefly detain a group of Red Cross staff, including one Swiss citizen.
France and Germany threaten to step up sanctions against Russia if the May 25 election is disrupted but also call on Kiev to cease "offensive" operations before the vote.