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Van Rompuy and Barroso disapprove of Russia's pressure tactics on Ukraine

By Paul Dallison  -  25.11.2013 / 14:50 CET
EU's offer to Ukraine is still on the table.
The presidents of the European Council and the European Commission have criticised Russia for putting pressure on Ukraine to scrap plans for political and trade agreements with the European Union.  

Herman Van Rompuy and José Manuel Barroso today issued a joint statement in which they condemned Russia's actions and praised the pro-EU demonstrators who have taken to the streets of Kiev.  

“It is up to Ukraine to freely decide what kind of engagement they seek with the European Union," the two men said. "We therefore strongly disapprove of the Russian position and actions."

The Ukrainian government's official statement said that it had suspended talks with the EU in the interests of “national security” and a desire to re-launch “active dialogue” with Russia.  

“Ukrainian citizens have again shown these last days that they fully understand and embrace the historic nature of the European association”, the statement said. More than 100,000 people rallied in Kiev on Sunday, according to Ukrainian opposition parties. Police estimated the crowd at about half that number.  

Van Rompuy and Barroso insisted that the EU's offer to Ukraine was still on the table, adding that “we are convinced that signing the Association Agreement and a DCFTA [Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area], the most ambitious agreement the European Union has ever offered, provides the best possible support for Ukraine's economic situation, reform course and modernisation in view of building a prosperous and stable future for all Ukrainians.”

The EU was hoping to sign trade and political deals with Ukraine at a summit in Vilnius on 28-29 November with six post-Soviet neighbours. 
© 2014 European Voice. All rights reserved.

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