KYIV -- Olha Pasko and Valentina Riklyvska shed solemn tears as they hang paper angels on a hedgerow running along Kyiv's Institutska Street, the site of a bloody and decisive confrontation exactly five years ago between pro-democracy protesters and security forces during Ukraine's Euromaidan uprising.
But the women recall the events, which cleaved the country and ousted a pro-Moscow president but also set the stage for a Russian invasion and a five-year war, as if they were yesterday.
"I was making food in the [field] kitchen to support our Maidan," Pasko, who made frequent trips from her nearby office to aid the protest effort, says of February 19, 2014.
Both women's memories are especially vivid when it comes to the heavily armed security forces opening fire on their fellow Ukrainians here, spilling their blood into the cracks between well-worn cobblestones.
"Fire and smoke were everywhere," Pasko says. "It was a war."
Riklyvska can still see the limp, bleeding bodies being carried on stretchers to medical stations on Independence Square, dubbed Maidan.
"Many of them were so young," she says, gesturing toward the faces on faded makeshift memorials at spots where protesters were cut down by gunfire -- tree trunks used for cover, a barrier beside the entrance to a hotel whose lobby was transformed into an operating room, the base of a footbridge where the protesters' last barricade stood. "It's an absolute shame."
The paper angels the women are hanging were made by students at a school for the blind to be placed here to watch over their souls, they explain.
While great attention has been paid by Ukraine's civil society to those who were killed, known as the Heavenly Hundred, Pasko, Riklyvska, and many other Ukrainians feel that authorities have devoted too little attention to the question of justice.
"It was a terrible tragedy then. And we have a terrible tragedy now," Riklyvska says. She claims that politicians prefer instead to pay lip service and simply lay flowers to the victims.
Petro Poroshenko, the post-Euromaidan president facing a tough reelection battle next month after stalling on crucial judicial reforms and failing to prosecute organizers of the Euromaidan killings, escorted European Council President Donald Tusk to the site on February 19 to pay tribute to the Heavenly Hundred.
Meanwhile, the status of the official investigation into the killings appears to be up for debate, to the chagrin of many Ukrainians.
By the end of 2018, the Prosecutor-General's Office had identified 441 suspects, most of them former law enforcement officers but also city administration officials, prosecutors, and judges, according to research by Amnesty International.
In all, 288 individual cases were said to have been sent to court. Fifty-two cases had already resulted in court decisions, including 48 convictions, but only nine custodial sentences were handed down, Amnesty International added. None of those given a prison sentence was a former police officer, the group said, nor had anyone ever identified as ordering or carrying out the February 20, 2014, killings been found and put on trial.
A Ukrainian court last month found the president who was in charge at the time, Viktor Yanukovych, guilty in absentia of treason and undermining Ukraine's territorial integrity when he invited Russia to intervene militarily amid the unrest. The accompanying 13-year sentence was applauded in Kyiv, but Yanukovych, who is safely residing under state protection in Russia, is unlikely to serve a day of jail time.
On February 1, Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko announced that his office had completed its probe and was ready to take the resulting cases to court.
But he was contradicted two days later by his own chief of special investigations, Serhiy Horbatiuk, who said "the investigation is not over."
"Five years is a long time to wait when it comes to justice, and for most victims who suffered at the hands of Ukrainian police, justice is still not even in sight," Colm O Cuanachain, senior director at the Office of the Secretary-General of Amnesty International, said in Kyiv on February 19. "Promises were made, strong words were said by the post-Yanukovych authorities, but time and facts speak volumes."
He added: "Until all those responsible, including those in command, are brought to account, there can be no sense of justice."
In a symbolic move, the Ukrainian government has broken ground on a new Maidan memorial that will run the length of Institutska Street, now also known as Avenue Of The Heavenly Hundred.
Yuriy Kovalchuk, a retired teacher who protested on Independence Square in 2014 and returned to the site on February 19, says he appreciates the gesture but it does not compensate for the lack of accountability over the deaths of his friends and fellow protesters.
"A hundred people paid with their lives...They gave Ukraine everything they had," he says, running his hand over his face. Gesturing to a rendering of the new memorial and two stones marking what will be its entrance, he adds: "They're only given some rocks to remember them."