Ukraine Signs Deal That Started It All

And Russia isn't happy
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 27, 2014 7:19 AM CDT
Ukraine Signs Deal That Started It All
Petro Poroshenko poses with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, left, and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, right, during an EU Summit in Brussels, June 27, 2014,   (AP Photo)

It's official: The Ukraine has signed a free trade deal with the European Union, the BBC reports—the same free trade deal that sparked the protests that led to the current crisis. President Petro Poroshenko called the deal the most historic moment for Ukraine since it gained independence in 1991, while a none-too-pleased Vladimir Putin warned that Ukraine was being pushed into "an artificial choice between Russia and the EU" and a "painful internal conflict." A senior Kremlin adviser even called Poroshenko a "Nazi."

In practical terms the deal, which was also signed by Georgia and Moldova, changes little "except Vladimir Putin's blood pressure," quips the LA Times. Russia will still be a key trading partner for Ukraine, thanks to their deep military-industrial complex ties. But politically Putin hates seeing former Soviet states drawn into closer alliances with the West. There's also some concern, a BBC analyst says, that Russia could be flooded with cheap EU goods. In other Ukraine developments:

  • The current ceasefire is set to expire today. Putin is calling for a long-term ceasefire to replace it, and talks to institute one are planned for today.
  • Poroshenko took his own shot at Putin, telling CNN yesterday that peace depended on the Russian leader's mercurial mood. "Sometimes, the position of Mr. Putin is quite pragmatic, sometimes it is very emotional," he said, adding, "I'm ready to make a peace deal with anybody."
(More Ukraine stories.)

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