The icy cold and snow cannot stop the protesters in Ukraine, who have set up camp in Kyiv’s Independence Square and are steeled for the long haul.
With numbers on Sunday dwarfing those of 2004’s Orange Revolution people prayed, chanted and sang for President Yanukovych to quit, and stop selling the country down the Volga to Moscow.
“We expected our government to resign. We’ll win, because we’ve been here from the first day and will stay until the end. I think we will win. We want to be a part of Europe and Europe will help us,” said one man.
Europe is on the lips of everyone here, and many placards. These people see EU standards as the antibiotic that will rid Ukraine of its political sickness, and members of the EU parliament were in the crowd on Sunday in support. Many Ukrainians liivng abroad have returned home to fight for the cause.
“I couldn’t stay in Sweden and just watch what’s happening with my country, and how they destroy everything what’s important to me,” said one woman.
Exiles, Ukrainans living abroad who have had to surrender their nationality if they want to adopt, say, the nationality of a foreign spouse, and people from countries in the region have joined the struggle, which is being seen by Ukraine’s neighbours and countries allied with Russia as a symbol, as one Belarus man explained:
“I came here to express my solidarity with the Ukrainian people in this historically significant moment because right now not only is Ukraine’s fate being decided, but all of Eastern Europe’s.”
No-one is talking about quitting. It appears there is no question of these Ukrainian people abandoning their cause until they have achieved their aims.
“The possibility that we will be dispersed is impossible. It’s impossible to disperse such a large number of people. People come to express themselves so it would be like turning on the nation itself. So I think it’s impossible,” said one young woman.
Yesterday the ultra-Nationalists in the crowd tore down Lenin’s statue
to cheers, more than 20 years after similar statues had toppled around eastern Europe. It seems to indicate going back is no longer an option for Ukraine.