As Olympic athletes inspired the world last week with performances at Sochi, something even more inspirational unfolded about 650 miles away, in Kiev.

Thousands of pro-democracy protesters stood their ground in the Ukrainian capital against the security forces of a corrupt regime. Though the long-term fate of Ukraine is far from certain, there now is no doubt that democracy has a place at the table.

A new parliamentary majority issued an arrest warrant for President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to his native Crimea - a pro-Russian enclave on the Black Sea. It also released from prison Yulia Tymoshenko, who had been jailed for years on sham charges.

Mr. Yanukovych had rejected fuller economic, cultural, diplomatic and democratic ties with the European Union, which had been favored by a significant majority of Ukrainians, after promising to honor their wishes. Instead, he embraced Russian President Vladimir Putin's efforts to restore Ukraine as a Russian satellite state.

With Mr. Yanukovych on the run and Ms. Tymoshenko a divisive figure, it is uncertain how Ukraine will fill its leadership void.

There should be no void from the West, however. The United States and the European Union should work in concert to provide Ukrainian democrats with the financial and technical support that they need to stabilize their hard-won triumph and to secure Ukraine's future as a democratic nation.