Russia Asked Ukraine to Delay EU Agreement - Azarov

World | November 26, 2013, Tuesday // 18:11
Bulgaria: Russia Asked Ukraine to Delay EU Agreement - Azarov Photo by the Ukrainian Government.

The Russian government asked Ukraine to consider delaying signing an Association Agreement with the EU to conduct further talks, said Ukrainan PM Mykola Azarov.

This statement was interpreted by some western media as implying that Azarov has admitted of a Russian influence over his government's decision.

After the move to freeze the Association Agreement signing, scheduled for this week, EU and Russia have exchanged accusations that the other side has exerted "pressure" over Ukraine.

Tens of thousands of Ukrainians assembled in pro-EU rallies, fearing that the decision will move their country away from Europe and ever closer to Russia.

On his part, Ukraine's executive, led by President Vladimir Yanukovych and PM Azarov, has stated that the country is firm on the path of European integration, in spite of the delay.

According to Azarov, who spoke to foreign journalists Tuesday, Russia had offered to hold trilateral talks on the issue, without giving "any ultimatums," reports the BBC.

The Ukrainian PM said that Russia's message was: "Delay the signing of the agreement, we will sit at the table, come to an agreement on something."

He stressed that his country has no desire whatsoever to be seen as a "battlefield" of foreign interests.

Ukraine has also expressed the desire for trilateral talks with the EU and Russia, hoping they will start as early as December.

The country's government has stated it fears that liberalization of trade with the EU and unattractive loan terms proposed by the IMF could gravely harm the country's economy, as thing currently stand.

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Tags: Viktor Yanukovych, Mykola Azarov, EU, european integration, Russia, Ukraine, rallies, Association Agreement, IMF

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