In trilateral discussions in early September 2014, the European Commission, the Ukrainian and Russian government agreed to postpone the provisional implementation of the agreement until the end of 2015. “We have agreed to postpone the request until 31 December next year,” EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said on 12 September 2014 in Brussels, at the end of talks with Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin. According to Interfax, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko had spoken in favour of the decision. “This is a very important decision and we are very grateful to the EU for providing privileged access to the European market,” said Pavlo Klimkin. This will allow our businesses to prepare for trade liberalization.  EU countries have not yet agreed. Unilateral trade facilitation – the abolition of import duties in the EU – remains in force, provided the EU Council of Ministers is approved. Tariffs on EU products exported to Ukraine are maintained. The agreement obliges Ukraine to carry out economic, judicial and financial reforms in order to integrate its policy and legislation with that of the European Union. Ukraine is committed to gradually complying with EU technical and consumer standards.  The EU agrees to provide Ukraine with political and financial support, access to research and knowledge and preferential access to EU markets. The agreement commits both sides to promote progressive convergence towards the EU`s common security and defence policy and the policy of the European Defence Agency. The implementation of the agreements has unfortunately not always been Kiev`s strong suit (see the history of the IMF`s suspended programmes over the past 20 years). But Poroshenko, the current Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and others in the cabinet and parliament may get it: after the missed opportunity of the 2004 Orange Revolution, Ukraine has a rare second chance to set out to become a modern European country, as neighbouring Poland did.
But both Ukraine and the EU have long been aware of the risk of Russian reprisals. And it has always been clear that the implementation of association and free trade agreements would have a considerable cost. The Ukrainian Parliament and the European Parliament ratified the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union on 16 September 2014. In the background, Russia is concerned about the negative impact on the Russian economy if EU products enter the Russian market via Ukraine. That is why the Russian government had announced new tariffs on Ukrainian products if the Association Agreement came into force on 1 November 2014, as planned. The damage caused to the Russian economy by the abolition of import tariffs in Ukraine is estimated by Russia at $2 billion.  On 1 September 2014, Russia tabled a list of 2,370 amendments on the consequences for Russian-Ukrainian trade.