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Putin would welcome closer ties between EU and UKRAINE

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Putin would welcome closer ties between EU and UKRAINE

Post  Panda on Sat 15 Feb - 7:45

Vladimir Putin 'would welcome closer ties between EU and Ukraine'
Russian president’s comments, relayed by German diplomats after meeting, may signal a way out of the crisis that has engulfed Ukraine for the past two months
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin said steps towards economic convergence between the EU and Ukraine were welcome Photo: AFP/GETTY
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By Damien McElroy, Roland Oliphant in Moscow7:59PM GMT 14 Feb 2014
Vladimir Putin said on Friday he would welcome closer economic ties between the European Union and Ukraine, in a move that may signal a way out of the crisis that has engulfed the country for the past two months.
The Russian president’s comments were relayed by German diplomats after a meeting between the country’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and Mr Putin in Moscow.
They came as Germany mounted a diplomatic push to resolve the stand-off between Ukraine’s president, Viktor Yanukovych, and protesters who have been demanding that he resign. They were angered because he preferred to accept a $15 billion Russian economic bail-out than to press ahead with a promised co-operation deal with the EU.
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, will meet two of the main opposition leaders in Berlin on Monday and try to help broker a new power-sharing government, after Mr Yanukovych was forced to sack his entire government last month, or risk complete anarchy.
“Putin said steps towards economic convergence between the EU and Ukraine were welcome,” said a source in the German delegation, which also met the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.
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Mr Steinmeier, a Social Democrat with long-standing ties to the Kremlin, said: “Russia can make a constructive contribution here as well,” said “We can’t avoid the fact that due to history, and the long enduring division of different systems, we have different perceptions in East and West. But if we are aware of this, then we can create trust.”
Officials said that Mr Putin was open to the possibility of a “neutral observer” being asked to monitor any agreement reached between the EU and Russia.
The discussions appeared to hold out the prospect that a power-sharing government in Kiev might be able to draw on economic support from both sides, effectively keeping the door open to European and Russian camps.
They came as authorities in Ukraine provisionally freed the last detained protesters under an amnesty offer designed to defuse protracted street unrest.
Viktor Pshonka, Ukraine’s prosecutor general, promised that all charges would be dropped by March 18 provided protesters “cleared blocked areas” and “reopened transport links”.
Opposition leaders including representatives of the hard line Pravy Sektor faction said Friday that they were willing to remove some barricades if criminal charges are also dropped.


It was Putin who interfered in the Ukraine with led to the UKraine PM withdrawing from joining to the EU. With civil unrest in Russia he obviously feels he must back down.
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