I don't find it so surprising. The government tried a show of force by making peaceful demonstrations illegal. The demonstrators refused to be intimidated and neither the police nor the army was prepared to commit a massacre to enforce the new law.
Things have changed, two days ago we were still fighting to get Yulia out of jail. Now Yanukovich is begging her to leave.
The wider context is that this is not really a fight between European and Russian values, it is a fight between Democratic values and Putin's thuggery. Ukraine is a vital strategic port for Russia, without access to Odessa and Sevastopol, the Black Sea fleet has no access to the Mediterranean. Ukraine is poor, Russia has lots of resources. Putin could have easily kept Ukraine on side.
Instead Putin applied the paranoid style of foreign relations. The Orange revolution was seen as a threat and Putin's goons immediately set about reversing what they could. While the EU was protesting the imprisonment of Timoshenko on trumped up charges, Putin was applauding.
This is not the outcome that Europe wanted at the start. They were more than happy to let Russia have Ukraine in its sphere of influence. The EU has more than enough difficulty with the integration of the Warsaw pact into the EU. But Putin's actions forced their hand.
I met Ted Heath at what he intended to be his last public speech at the Oxford Union (as it happened he lived quite a lot longer than his doctors expected). He was always a supporter of European integration but when he was in office he always gave economic reasons. At the Union he pointed to the war memorials for World War I and II. He had lost a quarter of his friends and rivals in WWII. He was prepared to do anything to stop another World War.
And that is what the EU is really about. It has ended fascism in Spain and enabled transitions to democracy in Portugal, Greece and Eastern Europe.
Ukraine may not have decided what government they want but it is clear that they reject Putin and Putinism. We are very fortunate that the US is no longer saddled with George W. Bush and Richard Cheney. If they were still in office the Ukrainian's choice would not be so obvious.