U.S. Senator John McCain, center, waves to pro-European intergration protesters during a mass rally at Independence Square in Kiev, on Dec. 15, 2013. Thousands of Ukrainian massed on Dec. 15 for a rally against President Viktor Yanukovich just days before he heads for a meeting in the Kremlin which the opposition fears will slam the door on integration with the European mainstream. The street protests erupted after the November 21 decision by Yanukovich to walk away from a trade-and-political agreement with the EU after years of careful preparation and turn to Moscow, Kiev's old Soviet master, for aid to save Ukraine's distressed economy.
Protesters wear hats with Ukrainian and European flags during an opposition rally in Independence Square in Kiev, on Dec. 15. McCain told more than 200,000 EU supporters rallying in Kiev on Sunday that Washington backed their desire for European integration. "To all Ukraine, America stands with you," he called out to the cheering crowd. "The free world is with you, America is with you, I am with you... Ukraine will make Europe better and Europe will make Ukraine better."
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, second left, speaks to U.S. Senators John McCain and Chris Murphy in Kiev, Ukraine, on Dec. 15.
Fans of Okean Elzy musical group, one of the most popular Ukrainian rock bands, raise their cell phones during a Pro-European Union rally in the Independence Square in Kiev, on Dec. 14.
Anti-government protesters wander around Independence Square on a cool clear morning on Dec. 14, in Kiev.
Police keep anti-government protesters separate from a pro-government rally on Dec. 14, in Kiev.
Pro-European integration protesters wait in a line for a meal during a rally at Independence Square in Kiev, on Dec. 13.
Ukrainian opposition activists continue to protest on Kiev's Independence Square on Dec. 12.
Pro-European Union activists wave flags as riot police pull back from Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, on Dec. 11. Security forces clashed with protesters as they began tearing down opposition barricades and tents set up in the center of the Ukrainian capital, in an escalation of the weeks-long standoff threatening the leadership of President Viktor Yanukovich.
A riot policeman leaves a bus after protesters threw a smoke grenade outside City Hall in Kiev on Dec. 11. Battalions of riot police withdrew on Wednesday from a protest camp after moving against demonstrators overnight in the authorities' biggest attempt yet to reclaim the streets from protesters.
Pro-European protesters scuffle with riot police in Kiev on Dec. 11.
A priest stands in the tent camp at Independence Square in Kiev on Dec. 10.
Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovich, second left, sits with three previous presidents, Viktor Yushchenko, left, Leonid Kravchuk, second right, and Leonid Kuchma, right, during a meeting in Kiev on Dec. 10.
U.S. Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, center, leaves after meeting with opposition leaders at Independence Square in Kiev on Dec. 10.
A protester hammers at a toppled statue of former Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin during a pro-European protest in downtown Kiev on Dec. 8. The third week of protests continued with an estimated 200,000 Ukrainians occupying central Kiev to denounce President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to turn away from Europe and align this ex-Soviet republic with Russia.
Protesters topple a statue of Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin in Kiev's Independence Square on Dec. 8.
A Ukrainian protester gives pieces from a damaged statue of Vladimir Lenin to people gathering around after it was toppled in Kiev on Dec. 8.
Protesters mass for the March of Millions at Kiev's Independence Square on Dec. 8, aiming to force President Viktor Yanukovych to resign. The protest began after Yanukovych refused an association agreement with the European Union.
A man shouts slogans during a rally for EU integration at Maidan Nezalezhnosti, or Independence Square, in central Kiev, on Dec. 8.
A Ukrainian woman writes on the ground in front of riot police during a demonstration in Kiev on Dec. 8.
An elderly protester crosses herself during the Dec. 8 rally in Kiev.
Volunteers offer free tea and food to pro-European Union activists at a rally in Independence Square in Kiev on Dec. 7.
Protesters stand at a barricade at Independence Square in Kiev on Dec. 6. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich flew to Russia on Friday, a news agency reported, seeking aid to shore up a creaking economy.
Protesters rest in Kiev's City Hall, an organizational hub for protesters who have occupied the building, on Dec. 5. Germany's foreign minister met Ukrainian opposition leaders at their protest camp in a snub to President Viktor Yanukovich, who triggered demonstrations by spurning a pact with the EU and seeking closer ties with Moscow.
A woman carrying a religious picture points at Interior Ministry personnel during a rally in Kiev on Dec. 5 to support EU integration.
A couple warm themselves with a blanket at a barricade at Independence Square in Kiev on Dec. 4. Ukraine's prime minister warned protesters trying to blockade government buildings that they would be punished for any "illegal acts."
A man serves soup to anti-government protesters in Independence Square on Dec. 4 in Kiev.
Defaced posters depict Ukranian President Viktor Yanukovich at Independence Square in Kiev on Dec. 4. The sign in white reads: "Requirement Number 1: Resignation of Yanukovich."
Anti-government protesters occupy the floor of Kiev's City Hall on Dec. 4.
People supporting EU integration attend a rally at Independence Square in Kiev on Dec. 4.
A protester faces riot police on Dec. 3, as thousands rallied outside the Ukrainian parliament in Kiev. The Ukrainian government survived a no-confidence vote after the prime minister apologized for a brutal police crackdown on protests that were sparked by the ex-Soviet state's rejection of a historic EU pact. Following pressure from the opposition, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov arrived at an emergency parliament session and personally apologized for a crackdown in a bid to defuse the ex-Soviet nation's worst political crisis in a decade.
Protesters break the door of the Kiev City State Administration building during a rally held by supporters of EU integration in Kiev, on Dec. 1.
Protesters try to break through police lines near the presidential administration building during a rally held by supporters of EU integration in Kiev, on Dec. 1. Ukrainian opposition leaders called on Sunday for President Viktor Yanukovich and his government to resign at a rally of about 350,000 people, the biggest protest in the capital Kiev since the "Orange Revolution" of nine years ago.
A protester clashes with riot police during a rally supporting EU integration in front of the Ukrainian cabinet of ministers building in Kiev on Nov. 25. The European Union expressed strong disapproval on Monday of Russian pressure on Ukraine to reject an EU trade deal, while police fired tear gas at pro-Europe protesters in the former Soviet republic, torn once more between East and West.
Opposition protesters and riot police fight in front of the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers in Kiev, on Nov. 24. Tens of thousands of demonstrators rallied in the center of Kiev on Sunday to demand that the Ukrainian government reverse course and sign a landmark agreement with the European Union in defiance of Russia. The protest was the biggest Ukraine has seen since the peaceful 2004 Orange Revolution, which overturned a fraudulent presidential election result and brought a Western-leaning government to power.
Opposition deputies throw pieces of paper towards Ukraine's Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and members of his government as he gestures during a session of parliament in Kiev on Nov. 22. Ukraine's decision not to sign a deal strengthening ties with the European Union was motivated solely by economics and was "tactical", Azarov said on Friday.