Vladimir Putin tells Brussels to stay out of Ukraine’s political crisis
Russian president dismisses EU decision to send envoy to Kiev: ‘The more intermediaries there are, the more problems there are’
The Guardian, Tuesday 28 January 2014
The street revolt against Yanukovych erupted in November after he reneged on free trade and political integration pacts with the EU, turning to Moscow which offered him $15bn (£11bn) in loans and reduced energy prices.
While Van Rompuy and the EU commission president, Jose Manuel Barroso, stressed yesterday there was no contradiction between Ukraine’s agreements with Brussels and Moscow, Putin made plain that his deal with Yanukovych was incompatible with Kiev’s signing up to the EU’s offers.
“We would most likely fail to maintain the preferential agreements with Ukraine if it signs the [EU] association agreement,” he said. He added that Moscow’s deal with Kiev did not depend on the shape of the new government to be formed, but stressed that the Kremlin would need to make sure it would be able to recoup the loans.
“We can’t pretend that everything’s all right when it’s not allright,” said Barroso.
The Russians and the Europeans agreed to set up a working group of experts to discuss the detail of the agreements being offered to Kiev by Brussels. That appeared to be a concession to Moscow since it was an early demand by Yanukovych rejected by the EU in November.