Early Friday, Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia signed a trade agreement with the 28-member European Union, attempting to align themselves with Europe instead of their former Soviet suzerain, Russia. Moldova and Georgia also signed political association agreements — a first step toward EU membership — something Ukraine did in March after forcing out President Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych's decision not to sign the negotiated EU agreement in November sparked the protests that led to his ouster.
Russia, which has been pushing its own Eurasian Union with its former Soviet satellites, is not expected to take these new EU pacts very well. The EU insists that nothing in the agreements will harm Russia, but Moscow says lost trade and other disruptions will hurt its economy. Ukraine and Moldova, both members of the Commonwealth of Independent States, will face "serious consequences," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said Friday. That probably only means a trade war.