In November 2013, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych refused to sign an association agreement between the Ukraine and the European Union. This triggered dramatic events: Ukrainians protested on the central Maidan square in Kyiv, which left more than 100 people dead and ousted him and his government in February 2014. Following an internationally criticized referendum, the Ukrainian peninsula Crimea was annexed by the Russian Federation in March. Political turmoil continued and protests in Donetsk and Luhansk regions escalated into an armed conflict between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian military. Many people died. The EU and the US imposed economic sanctions on Russia. And in July, a Malaysia Airlines passenger flight was shot down over the conflict zone in Eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.