In what has been widely described as a historic event, the European and Ukrainian parliaments have finally ratified the landmark association agreement.
For the first time ever, the parliamentary sessions in Kyiv and Strasbourg were broadcast simultaneously, giving leaders of both assemblies the chance to hail the moment, that’s been seven years in the making.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, the ratification of this treaty, of which the wording has not changed since the first days of the peaceful protests in Maidan, is a moment of glory for democracy,” said EP president Martin Schulz.
The Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko made clear the importance of the agreement which he said had sparked bloody protests at Maidan Square and led to the toppling of former president Viktor Yanukovych.
“The heavenly hundred (dead during the winter protests activists) and 872 brave Ukrainian soldiers have died not only for Ukraine. They gave up their lives for us to take a dignified place among the European family,” said Poroshenko.
The wide-ranging accord requires Ukraine to meet EU standards in the areas of human rights, security and arms control, and would remove trade barriers.
But as Russia opposes the free trade provisions, the full measures will not be implemented until the end of next year.