EU disapproves Russian pressure on Ukraine

imgThe EU on Monday sharply criticized Russian pressure on Ukraine to drop a landmark cooperation accord with the bloc, due to have been signed this week, and said the deal was still “on the table.”

“It is up to Ukraine to freely decide what kind of engagement (it seeks) with the EU,” European Union President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso said.

“We strongly disapprove of the Russian position and actions in this respect,” a joint statement said, adding that closer ties with former Soviet states in Eastern Europe “do not come at the expense” of EU relations with other countries there.

Last week, Kiev unexpectedly announced it was halting all preparations to sign the Association Agreement, seen as a first step toward EU membership that would have marked a historic break by Ukraine from Moscow.

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