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European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR)
News article21 November 2023Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations

Statement by President von der Leyen on the 10th anniversary of the Euromaidan protests, via video message

Euromaidan protests

Ten years of dignity. Ten years of pride. Ten years of striving for freedom. The cold November nights of Euromaidan have changed Europe forever. Even if back then, Europe did not realise it. A whole nation took to the streets, and spoke with one voice. You said: Ukraine belongs in Europe. And our future belongs to us. And that is why the people of Ukraine wrapped themselves in European flags – defying the snipers and the riot police.

You decided to be masters of your own future.

And this is why Putin attacked you. With the occupation of Crimea. With the destabilisation of Donbass. And then in 2022, with the full-scale aggression against your country. Russia's war against Ukraine's freedom has lasted ten long years. Not only for the people of Crimea and Donbass, but for so many Ukrainians.

Like Roman Ratushnyi, who was still in high school when the protests began. He stood against the Berkut police in the Maidan. Then as an activist, he stood against oligarchs and corruption. And finally, Roman stood against Russian troops, paying the ultimate sacrifice on the battlefield. But his dream lives on.

And today, Ukraine is closer than ever to fulfilling that dream.

Your Parliament has adopted far-reaching reforms, on all the seven steps that will lead you towards our Union. And we, at the European Commission, have proposed to start accession negotiations. Today, it is clearer than ever:

The future of Ukraine is in the European Union. The future that the Maidan fought for, has finally just begun.

Slava Ukraini, and long live Europe.

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