Ukraine signed a free-trade and political cooperation agreement with the European Union on Friday that has been at the heart of the country’s political crisis, drawing an immediate threat of “grave consequences” from Russia, Reuters reports.
Georgia and Moldova signed similar deals, holding out the prospect of deep economic integration and unfettered access to the EU’s 500 million citizens.
“Over the last months, Ukraine paid the highest possible price to make her European dreams come true,” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told EU leaders at a signing ceremony in Brussels.
European Council President Herman van Rompuy described it as a “great day for Europe,” according to BBC.
“The EU stands by your side, today more than ever before,” he told leaders of the three countries, adding that there was nothing in the agreements that might harm Russia in any way.