Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ACROSS AFRICA

New HIV vaccine under trial in South Africa

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Vote count under way in Ghana after tight presidential poll

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Cameroon: Several people killed in clashes with police in Anglophone region

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Polish Christmas video goes viral

Read more

THE DEBATE

Power to the People? Battle over Brexit and Parliamentary Democracy (part 1)

Read more

THE DEBATE

Power to the People? Battle over Brexit and Parliamentary Democracy (part 2)

Read more

FOCUS

Video: Iraq's 'Golden Division' troops in the battle for Mosul

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Italy faces shortage of young farmers

Read more

ENCORE!

The Rolling Stones pay homage to the blues with new covers album

Read more

Europe

EU to strengthen Ukraine ties in landmark agreement

© Photo: AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-03-21

The European Union and Ukraine’s interim government signed a landmark association agreement on Friday, committing the two to closer economic and political ties.

The deal is the same agreement rejected by former president Viktor Yanukovich last November, a move that led to months of fierce protests and his eventual overthrow.

The EU’s 28 leaders and interim Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk signed the core chapters of the Association Agreement on the sidelines of an EU summit in Brussels, officials who witnessed the ceremony told Reuters.

Major parts of the agreement concerning free trade will only be signed after Ukraine has held new presidential elections in May, however.

Russia’s upper house approves Crimea annexation

News of the deal came as Russia’s upper house of parliament voted unanimously to approve a treaty on annexing Ukraine’s Crimea region, seized by Russian troops two weeks ago in the wake of Yanukovich's ouster.

The Federation Council followed the State Duma lower house by voting for the treaty. President Vladimir Putin was expected to complete the ratification process by signing the treaty at a ceremony with the speakers of both chambers later on Friday.

"We have been not witnesses but participants in the historical events that happened in recent days and with a feeling of dignity, responsibility and patriotism, we have fulfilled our historic mission too," said speaker Valentina Matviyenko after the vote.

Moscow’s decision to annex Crimea prompted US President Barack Obama to announce a second round of punitive sanctions against Russia on Thursday.

Overall, 20 Russian citizens, several of whom are close to President Vladimir Putin, as well as the country’s Rossiya Bank have been singled out for sanctions.

But Putin said Friday that Russia would hold off on introducing further sanctions of its own against US officials, at least for the time being.

"I think we should for now hold off on reciprocal steps," Putin told a meeting of his Security Council in comments released by the Kremlin, while also saying he would open an account in the Russian bank targeted by the latest US sanctions.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP, REUTERS)

Date created : 2014-03-21

  • UKRAINE

    In pictures: Preparing for war in eastern Ukraine

    Read more

  • EU - RUSSIA

    EU targets Putin’s inner circle with growing blacklist

    Read more

  • UKRAINE

    ‘We will retaliate against further Russian incursions’, Ukraine PM tells FRANCE 24

    Read more

COMMENT(S)