The on-going crisis in Ukraine erupted after former President, Viktor Yanukovych, refused to sign an Association Agreement (AA) with the EU in November 2013, and instead sought closer ties with Russia. Following radical protests from pro-Western groups, Yanukovych stepped down and fled to Russia. Moscow responded by annexing the Crimea in March 2014, sparking wide-ranging EU sanctions; at the same time, pro-Russian separatists seized control of Luhansk and Donetsk, in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. The AA was signed by the EU and Ukraine’s newly elected President, Petro Poroshenko in June, and ratified by the EP and Kyiv on 16 September. Following the October elections in the rest of Ukraine, rebels in Luhansk and Donetsk held their own ‘elections’ on 2 November, highlighting Kyiv’s lack of power in the region.