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Ukraine Signs Trade Pact with EU
Jul 01, 2014

Ukraine signed a landmark economic trade pact with the European Union prompting a furious response from Russia, even as talks were extended over a peace plan to stop violence in the country’s eastern regions. Petro Poroshenko, the president of Ukraine, signed the accord at a ceremony in Brussels, calling it a “new perspective for his country.  The leaders of Georgia and Moldova also put pens to EU association agreements in a historic step for the three former Soviet countries.

It was a refusal to sign the pact last year by Poroshenko’s predecessor, Viktor Yanukovych, which triggered protests in Ukraine, leading to Russia’s annexation of the Crimea peninsula and an armed pro-Russian uprising against government forces around Donetsk and Luhansk.

The EU association agreements signed with Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova lift trade tariffs and promise help with economic reforms, while stopping short of a pathway to membership. The deals are seen as part of an ongoing struggle between Russia and the West to exert influence over former Soviet states. Russia had tried to entice Ukraine into membership in a Customs Union with itself, Belarus and Kazakhstan, and may raise its own tariffs in retaliation at the EU agreement. 

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