On November 28-29th, 2013, the Eastern Partnership summit took place in Vilnius, where Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova signed an Association agreement with the European Union (EU). This agreement aimed to strengthen political and economic ties with the EU, including free trade and visa-free travel. The signing of the agreement was seen as a significant step towards European integration for these countries.
However, the signing of the agreement led to significant tensions between Russia and the EU, as Russia saw the agreement as an attempt to expand Western influence in its backyard. In response, Russia imposed economic sanctions on the signatory countries, including a ban on their agricultural exports to Russia. This resulted in significant economic losses for these countries.
In February 2014, protests erupted in Ukraine over the decision of President Viktor Yanukovych to suspend the process of European integration and move towards closer ties with Russia. These protests, known as the Euromaidan protests, led to the ousting of Yanukovych and the installation of a pro-Western government in Ukraine.
Russia responded by annexing Crimea from Ukraine and supporting separatist movements in eastern Ukraine. This led to a conflict that has claimed more than 13,000 lives and displaced over 1.5 million people.
Since the signing of the agreement, Georgia and Moldova have made significant progress in their European integration efforts, including implementing reforms and strengthening democratic institutions. However, Ukraine's progress has been hampered by ongoing conflict in the east and political instability.
In 2019, Ukraine elected a new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, who ran on a platform of ending the conflict in the east and furthering Ukraine's European integration. Zelensky has implemented significant reforms and reached out to Russia to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.
In 2020, the EU and Ukraine held a virtual summit where they reaffirmed their commitment to the Association agreement and discussed further cooperation in areas such as energy, digitalization, and the environment.
In summary, the signing of the Association agreement at the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius in 2013 marked a significant step towards European integration for Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova. However, it also led to significant tensions between the EU and Russia, resulting in economic sanctions and a conflict in eastern Ukraine. While Georgia and Moldova have made progress in their integration efforts, Ukraine's progress has been hampered by ongoing conflict and political instability. Nevertheless, Ukraine and the EU continue to reaffirm their commitment to the Association agreement and further cooperation.