The demonstrations which began in Kiev in November 2013 – "Maidan", "Euromaidan" – were born out of Ukrainians' own desire for a closer relationship with the European Union, and their frustration with the corrupt regime of former President Yanukovych and with his last minute U-turn, after seven years of negotiation, to halt progress towards that goal as a result of Russian pressure (bit.ly/1Ri9ldy), . // The 2014 presidential election in Ukraine was a genuine election largely in line with international commitments and it respected fundamental freedoms, despite the hostile security environment in two eastern regions of the country. According to the OSCE, "people of Ukraine had the opportunity to genuinely express their will at the ballot box" (bit.ly/1hqcDuR), . Similarly, Ukraine’s local elections in October 2015 were competitive and generally showed respect for the democratic process (bit.ly/1VUL9V5), . // Any decision relating to Ukraine's sovereignty or sovereign choices can only be taken without undue external pressure. The so-called referendum on Crimea was organised in a matter of weeks by a self-proclaimed Crimean leadership installed by armed Russian military personnel following the seizure of public buildings. The EU will obviously not recognise them nor their alleged outcomes.