In March 2007, negotiations began on a new expanded agreement to replace the previous PARTNERSHIP and cooperation agreement between the EU and Ukraine under the EU-Ukraine Action Plan. On 19 September 2013, President Putin declared that Russia would impose „protectionist measures“ against Ukraine after the implementation of the EU Association Agreement.  The next day, Aleksei Pushkov, chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the Duma (Russia`s main parliament), said that Ukraine was engaged in a „semi-colonial dependence“ on the EU.  On 8 October 2013, President Putin declared that the free trade agreement could „create some trade and cooperation problems. We can hurt the economy, but we will not have any political problems, I am sure.  PROTOCOLE III – On a framework agreement between the European Union and Ukraine on the general principles of Ukraine`s participation in trade union programmes, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that members of the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia could impose safeguards in the event of trade liberalization between Ukraine and the EU.  [j] The EU condemned Russia`s threats and called them unacceptable.  Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov urged Russia to „accept the reality that Ukraine signs the EU agreement“ and condemned all artificial barriers as unnecessary.  The agreement comes after more than two decades in which the two sides have attempted to forge closer ties. On the one hand, the European Union wants to ensure that its imports of cereals and natural gas from Ukraine and its merchandise exports to Ukraine are not threatened by instability in the region, believing that instability could ultimately be reduced by socio-political and economic reforms in Ukraine.
 Ukraine, on the other hand, wants to increase its exports by taking advantage of free trade with the European Union, while attracting desirable external investment and strengthening ties with a socio-political unit with which many Ukrainians have a strong cultural link. Western Ukraine is generally more enthusiastic about joining the EU than eastern Ukraine.   After the referendum, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said ratification would be suspended during negotiations with the other parties to find a compromise.   In December 2016, a decision by the heads of state or government of EU member states was adopted, which presented legally binding interpretations of the agreement in order to address the concerns expressed in the referendum. In particular, it stated that it had not obliged the EU to grant Ukraine eu membership, or to provide security guarantees, military or financial aid or free movement within the EU.   The decision would enter into force if the Netherlands ratified the agreement, which was to be approved by its Parliament.  At the end of January 2017, the Dutch government tabled a bill to confirm the approval of the agreement.  The Dutch House of Representatives approved the bill on 23 February 2017.
 The Senate approved the bill on May 30, 2017.  European Council President Herman Van Rompuy added that „we cannot give in to external pressure, the least Russian.“  Barroso reiterated that the EU`s offer to Ukraine to sign an association agreement remained on the table.   At the same time, President Yanukovych stated that he wanted to sign the Association Agreement at a later date, „as soon as we get to work and find solutions to economic problems, if we get the opportunity to sign a strategic partnership agreement with Russia and all that we need to do to establish normal relations between the European Union. , Russia and Ukraine… It`s our responsibility.  On 21 November 2013, Verkhovna Rada failed with one of six requests to allow former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko to seek medical treatment abroad, which was an EU request to sign the Association Agreement.   In the same week, T