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A Senior Aide to President Putin dubbed Ukrainian President Poroshenko "a Nazi" for signing the Association Agreement with the EU.

Mr (Sergei) Glazyev, Mr Putin's presidential adviser on regional economic integration, also described Mr Poroshenko’s endorsement of the deal as “illegitimate” and accused Europe of attempting to push Ukraine to sign the agreement, which is expected to take place later today “by force”.

He told the BBC: "They organised [a] military coup in Ukraine, they helped Nazis to come to power. This Nazi government is bombing the largest region in Ukraine."

When asked if he believed Mr Poroshenko was a Nazi, he replied "of course", adding: "I think after the signing of the agreement with EU, [the] European public will be... surprised when this Nazi Frankenstein, which was born by the Euro bureaucrats and some politicians, will knock on the European countries' doors."

Czar Putin's ambition of forcing his oligarch friend's shoddy overpriced goods on the people of a revived COMECON was dealt more blows as Moldova and Georgia also signed Association Agreements. (Guess what is not being widely reported) Yesterday the final preparations were made for Albania to be awarded Candidate Country status by the meeting of the heads of government this weekend.

In the past few days Putin's propaganda arm, Russia Today, has been ramping up the rhetoric about "devastation" in eastern Ukraine. The Kremlin has started sabre rattling:

Ukraine will save up to $500 million on lifted tariff and duty fees when trading with Europe, but it’s free trade access with Russia will be revoked.

Before trade can start, Ukraine has to go through mountains of paperwork, tweaking laws and legislation to comply with EU standards; this will take time and money.

Russia has repeatedly said Ukraine cannot have its cake and eat it too. Its choice to join up with the EU instead of the Russian - led Customs Union will have economic consequences. No more free-trade, possible new tariffs, and definitely no more discounted gas.

The BBC's Correspondent in Moscow provides background:

There is a general sense of irritation or perhaps even anger here that Moscow has failed to convince countries like Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia not to sign this historic free trade deal today with the EU.

Moscow has economic concerns about these deals - it is worried that the Russian market could be flooded by cheap goods from the EU that would hit Russian producers.

More pressing for Moscow are the geopolitical concerns here - the whole idea of former Soviet states, countries that Moscow still views as being within its sphere of influence, drifting towards Europe and one day possibly becoming part of the EU - that really grates with Moscow, particularly in the case of Ukraine

The Association Agreements contain Agendas on various areas that need to be modernized to bring the countries into compliance with the Acquis, a precondition of membership. They are not simply, as often mis-characterised, "trade agreements". Moldova for example has significant areas of governance that have to be addressed:
The Association Agenda establishes a set of jointly agreed priorities for the period 2014–2016 with a view to preparing for the implementation of the Association Agreement, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA).

The Association Agenda replaces the European Union Republic of Moldova European
Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan of 22 February 2005. It creates an up-to-date practical framework for achieving political association and economic integration between the EU and the Republic of Moldova. The Association Agenda incorporates political elements, including political dialogue, reforms to strengthen democratic institutions, the rule of law, independence of the judiciary, respect for human rights, cooperation on foreign and security policy as well as peaceful conflict resolution, and cooperation on Justice, Freedom, and Security. The Association Agenda also incorporates economic and trade elements, including a dedicated DCFTA chapter and cooperate on in a number of sectors such as energy, transport, employment and social policy.

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