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Ukraine urges Dutch to sign EU deal

Ukraine on Friday urged the Netherlands to ratify the EU’s historic association pact with Kiev soon, after the bloc struck a compromise deal following its rejection by Dutch voters.

The EU struck a compromise with the Netherlands on Thursday to save the bloc’s pact with Ukraine that was sealed over bitter Russian opposition in 2014 but then rejected by Dutch voters in April this year.

“We call upon The Netherlands to fulfil the relevant procedures to ensure its swift entry into force,” President Petro Poroshenko said in statement posted on Facebook.

Poroshenko said “Ukraine looks forward to continuous support from the EU, including The Netherlands, in the future implementation of the Agreement” and underlined that the ratification is “in the strategic interests of both sides”.

In this week’s compromise deal, EU leaders gave Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte special pledges limiting defence commitments to Ukraine, and saying that the accord does not entail future membership for Kiev.

“It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t pleasant, but it is necessary, because it ensures that the EU can continue to form a united front against destabilising Russian foreign policy,” Rutte said.

Officials had warned that failure to reach a deal, which should allow the Netherlands to become the final EU nation to ratify it, would have been a victory for Russia and its involvement in the Ukraine conflict that has already killed nearly 10,000 people since April 2014.