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Ukraine Crisis

Breaking news, updates, and analysis on the uprising and crisis in Ukraine.

  • .@BarackObama in Poland: We’re prepared to help facilitate dialog between #Ukraine authorities and those in separatist regions.
  • Russia is a significant country with incredibly gifted people and significant resources, Obama said, adding that they 'rightfully' play an important role in the world stage.

    However, basic rules of territorial integrity, among others, is the cornerstone of peace in Europe and is threatened by Russian actions in Crimea.

    We don't believe Russia has to choose between good relations with Ukraine and good relations with Europe but we do believe Ukrainians should choose their own future, President Obama stressed.

    The president-elect of Ukraine has indicated his willingness to work with all regions of Ukraine as well as Russia, Obama said.
  • First question from Polish press - how #Ukraine will impact NATO relations with Russia #ObamainPoland
  • #Ukraine top issue in President Obama's bilateral meeting with Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski #ObamainPoland
  • While in Poland, President Obama said Ukraine was a top issue at his meeting with Polish President Komorowski, adding that the United States would continue to support Ukrainian President-elect's new government. 


    He called on the Russian government to aide the Ukrainians as well and use its influence with the Ukrainian separatists to get them to lay down their arms.
  • Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk told parliament on Tuesday he expected talks with Russia's Gazprom on gas prices to end this week and, if they prove inconclusive, Ukraine will file a case with a Stockholm arbitration court.

    "We look forward to the completion of negotiations with Russia's Gazprom this week," Yatseniuk said. "If we do not reach an agreement, we will turn to the Stockholm court."

    The heads of Ukrainian state energy Naftogaz and Gazprom were in talks on Tuesday in Berlin.

    [Reuters]
  • The Russian Foreign ministry said on Monday a reported air strike on a government building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk that left at least two people dead was a crime by Kiev against its people.

    "The authorities in Kiev have committed another crime against their own people," a statement on the ministry's website said. "Everything that has taken place (there) indicates the downright unwillingness of the Kiev authorities to move towards seeking ways for national accord in the country."

    Separatists controlling Luhansk said the explosions were the result of an air strike by the Ukrainian military, which the Kiev side denied.

    [Reuters]
  • #Russia calls for #UNSC consultations at 4pm today to introduce draft resolution on #Ukraine .
  • Russia's envoy to NATO on Monday accused the Western alliance of encouraging the use of force by the Ukrainian government in eastern Ukraine and of hampering efforts to find a peaceful solution to the crisis, Russia's RIA news agency reported.

    RIA also cited Alexander Grushko, who met ambassadors of NATO member states in Brussels, as saying unprecedented activity by the alliance near Russia's borders was adding to tension and could undermine existing security arrangements.

    [Reuters]
  • Lavrov says #Russia will submit a #UNSC draft resolution to create humanitarian corridors in #Ukraine and start talks to end violence.
  • Russia extends deadline for Ukrainian gas payments

    Russia's state gas company Gazprom says it is giving Ukraine another week before it starts demanding prepayment for gas, without which it could cut off supplies.

    The decision to push forward the date from Tuesday to next Monday gives Russia and Ukraine time to resolve a dispute that could cause disruptions of gas supplies to Europe.

    The company had said previously that starting Tuesday it would only deliver gas that had already been paid for, raising the prospect of supplies to Ukraine being cut off immediately and disruptions in onward gas flows to Europe.

    Gazprom's Chief Executive Alexei Miller on Monday acknowledged the payment from Ukraine for the February and March supplies.

    "Ukraine has paid the first installment for gas supplies. Today $786 million entered Gazprom's account," Miller was quoted as saying in a company statement on Monday.

    Miller said a decision on whether to charge Ukraine for gas in advance would depend whether Kiev pays its dues for April and May supplies.

    Gazprom has signaled that if Kiev continues to delay the payments, it will have to switch to prepayment, potentially triggering a halt in supply to Ukraine.

    Russian natural gas transits through Ukraine supply about 15 percent of European needs, and Guenther Oettinger, the European Union mediator, has been urgently seeking a compromise to save 18 member states from seeing their deliveries start dwindling.

    Read more at Al Jazeera America
  • As G-7 prepares to meet, Putin scales back in eastern Ukraine

    World leaders will gather in Brussels on Thursday to discuss global concern over energy, environment and trade. The meeting of the Group of Seven nations — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States — was organized quickly in order to boycott a previously scheduled G8 meeting set to take place in Russia this week.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had already brushed off the significance of the G-8 in March, when Moscow was barred from participating for its role in the Ukraine Crisis, calling it an “informal club,” lacking membership cards.

    “If our Western partners believe the format has exhausted itself, we don't cling to this format,” Lavrov told reporters at The Hague. “Many issues are discussed at that platform [G-8], but by and large there are many other platforms.”

    Steven Fish, a professor of comparative politics at the University of California, Berkeley, and Reuters journalist David Rohde sat with Al Jazeera’s Thomas Drayton to discuss whether Russia’s leadership actually cares about its expulsion from the international summit. Their conversation was part of Al Jazeera’s regular Sunday night segment “The Week Ahead.”

    “[Vladimir] Putin has really valued his own and his country’s international status and his own status as a statesman” Fish said of Russia's president. “This exclusion from the G-8 is a pretty big deal to him—he cares about international prestige.”

    Last week, Putin announced further withdrawal of Russia’s roughly 40,000 troops from the border with Ukraine. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and NATO Secretary General Anders Rasmussen called the move promising, but urged Russia to further help de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine.

    “It’s not clear why Putin’s done it but he’s clearly taken a step back in Eastern Ukraine,” Rohde said. “Putin could just be waiting, but he’s cleverly sort of let the air out of the balloon as the G-7 meets.”

    Read more at Al Jazeera America
  • Michael Bociurkiw: #OSCE monitors take part in facilitating the dialogue among civilians and representatives of other different groups
  • Michael Bociurkiw: We are still trying to contact the group of our observers who were taken by the fighters in #Donbass regions.
  • Michael Bociurkiw: Safety situation in #Donetsk and #Lugansk region is unstable with several groups fighting among each other
  • Pro-Russia rebels lay siege to Ukrainian border post

    A fierce battle was underway early on Monday in Ukraine's rebellious east after pro-Russian rebels attacked a Ukrainian border post with automatic weapons and grenade launchers.

    Security sources said a force of rebels had occupied the upper floors of a nearby apartment block and were shooting into the border post on the southern edge of Luhansk, a city very close to the frontier with Russia.

    Ukraine's acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, has said police and security forces are effectively "helpless" against rebels in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions. But president-elect, Petro Poroshenko, has promised to crush the rebels, whom he has called “terrorists.” Poroshenko will be inaugurated on June 7.

    “Shooting is continuing. There has been no let-up in firing for seven hours now," border post spokesman Oleh Slobodin said Monday morning.

    "We have 8 or 9 wounded. The attackers have five dead and 8 wounded," he added.

    The latest bout of violence broke out as Russia’s Defense Ministry revealed it had begun a military exercise involving the launch of high-precision missiles.

    In a statement Monday, the ministry said the exercise would continue through Thursday and involve the deployment of Iskander surface-to-surface missiles. Iskander missiles are capable of hitting targets 280 kilometers away.

    Read more at Al Jazeera America
  • Russia's Gazprom said on Monday it was delaying switching Ukraine to prepayment for gas deliveries until June 9, providing almost a week more to resolve a dispute in which Moscow has threatened to cut supplies to Kiev.

    The Russian natural gas exporter announced the decision after Kiev paid off some of its gas debt, and was due to resume talks with Ukraine and the European Union in Brussels later on Monday.

    Gazprom had said previously that it would from Tuesday deliver only gas that had already been paid for, raising the prospect of supplies to Ukraine being cut off immediately and disruptions in onward gas flows to Europe.

    EU mediator Guenther Oettinger said on Friday a $786 million partial payment for back gas bills was on its way to Moscow, clearing the way for further talks on Monday.

    Gazprom confirmed on Monday that it had received the payment.

    Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said in a statement that switching to prepayment would depend on whether Kiev pays off all its debt of $2.24 billion for gas delivered before April 1 and on "progress" in paying off for April and May.

    "Payment for May should be done before June 9," Miller said in the statement, in effect extending the deadline by six days.

    Ukraine's total debt for gas deliveries would have topped $5.2 billion as of June 7 if no payments had been made.

    Kiev wants to return to a discount gas price of $268.50 per 1,000 cubic meters while Moscow is demanding $485 - the highest paid by any client.

    Europe is getting a third of its gas needs from Russia. On Monday, Gazprom said gas flows to Europe were as usual.

    [Reuters]
  • Analysis: Russia's goal in Ukraine remains the same: To keep NATO out

    The key to anticipating Russia’s next moves in Ukraine is to understand that its policy has been driven by geopolitical considerations that have nothing to do with Russian expansionism or imperial nostalgia, and only little with the need to win domestic political support for President Vladimir Putin.

    Essentially, the Kremlin has been reacting to the threat of post-Maidan Ukraine joining NATO. The prospect of NATO forces being deployed just across the border from Kursk and Belgorod, site of the biggest tank battle in World War II; or of U.S. missile interceptors based in Ukraine capable of materially diminishing Russia’s nuclear deterrent; or of the U.S. Navy anchored in Sebastopol, and the Russian Black Sea Fleet evicted from the base it founded over two centuries ago; is absolute anathema to Russia’s political and military leaders. And it was that scenario that Moscow’s actions in Ukraine have been designed to prevent.

    The swift and highly professional Russian action in Crimea that resulted in the territory seceding from Kiev and returning to Moscow’s fold was likely based on contingency planning in place at least since 2008.

    That was the moment Ukrainian leaders – President Viktor Yushchenko, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and Rada Speaker Arseny Yatsenyuk — appealed to NATO to award Kiev a membership action plan (MAP) to join the Western alliance.

    Even though NATO’s Bucharest summit declined Kiev’s request — which had been backed by the United States, but opposed by Germany and France — it welcomed Ukraine’s membership at some unspecified point in the future.

    Read more at Al Jazeera America
  • Fighting in #Luhansk halts for both sides to remove wounded. Border guards enjoy more sympathy from rebels than Donbass & Dniepr battalions
  • On Wednesday, President Obama will hold his first meeting with Ukrainian President-elect Poroshenko, according to the White House:

    On Wednesday, the President will hold a bilateral meeting with President-elect Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine and then travel to the Royal Castle to take an official family photo with leaders attending the Freedom Day event, marking the 25th anniversary of Poland’s first partially free election.  At the Royal Castle, the President will deliver remarks commemorating Freedom Day.  In the afternoon, the President will fly to Brussels, Belgium.  In the evening, he will travel to the Royal Palace of Brussels to meet with King Philippe of Belgium.  Afterward, he will attend the 2014 G-7 Summit, which will begin with a leaders working dinner on foreign policy issues.  The President will remain overnight in Brussels.

  • Russia will submit a draft resolution to the U.N. Security Council on Monday calling for an immediate end to violence in Ukraine and the creation of humanitarian corridors in the east of the country, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

    Lavrov told a news conference that Western nations had assured Russia the situation in Ukraine would improve after a May 25 presidential election but that "everything is happening in exactly the opposite way".

    [Reuters]
  • Opinion: The Russian-Chinese geopolitical game

    Governments, politicians and media in the "western" world seem incapable of understanding geopolitical games as played by anyone elsewhere. Their analyses of the newly proclaimed accord of Russia and China are a stunning example of this.

    On May 16, Russia and China announced that they had signed a "friendship treaty" that would last "forever" but was not a military alliance. Simultaneously, they announced a gas deal, in which the two countries will build a gas pipeline to export Russian gas to China. China will lend Russia the money with which to build its share of the pipeline. It seems that Gazprom (Russia's major gas and oil producer) made some price concessions to China, an issue that had been holding up an agreement for some time.

    If one read the media on May 15, it was full of articles explaining why such an accord was unlikely. When it nonetheless occurred the next day, western governments, politicians, and media were split between those who thought it was a geopolitical victory for Russian President Vladimir Putin (and deplored this) and those who argued that it would not make much geopolitical difference.

    It is quite clear from discussions and votes in the U.N. Security Council over the last few years that Russia and China share an aversion to the various proposals put forward by the United States (and often seconded by various European countries) to authorize direct involvement (opening the way ultimately to military involvement) in the civil strife in Ukraine and in the multiple conflicts in the Middle East.

    The unilateral sanctions that the United States has already imposed on Russia because of its alleged behavior in Ukraine and the threat of still more sanctions has no doubt hastened Russia's desire to find additional outlets for its gas and oil. And this has in turn led to much talk of a revived "cold war" between Russia and the United States. But is this really the main point of the new Russia-China agreement?

    Read more at Al Jazeera America
  • Russia's Foreign Ministry is criticizing a suggestion by an OSCE official that the organization could consider withdrawing its observer mission from Ukraine because of safety concerns.

    The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe says it lost contact on Thursday with a group of monitors in separatist eastern Ukraine. Another group of monitors has been held by eastern rebels since Monday.

    Wolfgang Ischinger, the OSCE's negotiator on national dialogue in Ukraine, told German broadcaster ZDF this week that the monitor mission might have to withdraw if the organization fears for its employees' lives.

    But the Russian ministry said in a statement Saturday that "amid Kiev's intentionally intensified punitive operation in the east of the country, it is essential to step up the work of international observers."

    [The Associated Press]
  • In his daily press briefing, White House spokesman Jay Carney said there is no confirmation that there has yet been a full withdrawal of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border.
  • The Kremlin has released the following translated summary of Russian President Putin's phone call with French President Hollande:

    At the initiative of the French had a telephone conversation with President Vladimir Putin Francois Hollande.


    Leaders discussed the forthcoming bilateral meeting in Paris on 5 June 2014. Vladimir Putin confirmed their willingness to participate in the celebrations on June 6 in Normandy to mark the 70th anniversary of the Allied landings.


    Leaders of the two countries continued to exchange views with the development of the situation in Ukraine.Russian President stressed the necessity of immediate termination of the Kiev authorities of violence and bloodshed, start a direct dialogue with the representatives of Kyiv south-east of the country.


  • Pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine collect their dead and ask, Where is Putin?

    By: Noah Sneider

    DONETSK, Ukraine — The coffins sat In the loading bay of a local ice cream factory, filled with the battered bodies of fighters. They had gone to Ukraine to support the Donetsk People's Republic, and now they were bound for the border, heading home to Russia.

    The men, who were described as volunteers, died earlier this week during a bloody battle for the Donetsk airport. Their corpses had since been stored in an industrial freezer. On Thursday afternoon they were packed in black plastic bags, placed in caskets lined with white fabric and stacked unceremoniously in the back of a truck.

    There was no fanfare, no procession, no hero's send-off. Instead, a shell-shocked work crew looked on while a man hand painted the side of the truck with red crosses and "Cargo 200" — the Russian label for wartime casualties.

    How the men — at least 30 Russian citizens, according to the Donetsk People's Republic — ended up at the front lines of Ukraine's brewing civil war remains a mystery. Neither their names nor their origins were revealed to the journalists who accompanied the cargo through rebel-held territory, a Ukrainian military checkpoint and up to the very edge of Ukraine. Тhe fighters' presence here and Russia's silence on their ominous return point to Russian President Vladimir Putin's precarious position as the conflict on his doorstep descends deeper into violence.

    Since protesters seized the Donetsk regional administration building in early April and declared a people's republic in front of two Russian flags, joining the Russian Federation has been central, if not vital, to the movement's ambitions. Despite numerous appeals for assistance from the republic's leadership, Putin has refrained from officially recognizing the self-proclaimed government.

    Ahead of the republic's referendum earlier this month, Putin suggested that the rebels reschedule. Last week, before Ukraine's presidential election, he announced the removal of Russian forces from the border — an apparent signal that a Russian invasion was no longer imminent. For the fighters who had been counting on Russian intervention, the month of May was one of disappointment.

    "Putin promised help, and what did he do? He pulled back his forces from the border," said Sasha, a pro-Russian fighter from the rebel stronghold Slovyansk. "Putin betrayed what he promised."

    Read more at Al Jazeera America
  • Russia's energy minister said on Friday that talks with Ukraine should be able to continue next week, with discussions on back-payments and a price for future deliveries, once Moscow can confirm receipt of a partial payment by Kiev.

    "Since the end of February not a single cent has been paid for gas supplied. That is the situation," Russia's Alexander Novak told reporters in Berlin after talks with his Ukrainian counterpart which were mediated by the European Commission.

    Russian state gas company Gazprom has received notification from Ukraine of $786 million in back-payments, "but the earliest possible time for receiving the money is on Monday", Novak said, adding that he had seen "real interest" in solving the dispute.

    [Reuters]
  • Speaking from Vilnius, NATO's Rasmussen says 'maybe around two thirds' of Russian troops have pulled back from the Ukrainian border, Reuters reports.

    Rasmussen reportedly added that NATO is slated to hold a meeting with Russia on Monday.
  • Ukraine's prime minister says Kiev has paid $786 million to Russia for its gas debt, Reuters reports.

    Ukraine's energy minister also said Kiev made a payment today, Friday May 30, for Russian gas for March and February of 2014 worth $786 million, according to Reuters. The energy minister added that Gazprom has confirmed it is willing to talk about a 'package solution' to the ongoing gas dispute, according to Reuters.
  • Speaking from Berlin, the European Union's Oettinger says the Russia-Ukraine gas talks did not reach a final agreement but further progress was made, Reuters reports.

    Oettinger says the Russians are willing to continue with negotiating with Ukraine on the ongoing gas dispute, according to Reuters.
  • Russia has not received any payments for gas from Ukraine as of a Thursday deadline proposed by Moscow as part of negotiations with Kiev over gas debts, the Interfax news agency quoted Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak as saying on Friday.

    Novak is in Berlin for talks with Ukraine and the European Union over Kiev's debt for Russian gas supplies. He has said Moscow and the EU have proposed that Kiev pay Gazprom $2 billion by May 30, and another $500 million before June 7, as a precondition for a price discount and further talks.

    [Reuters]
  • According to Interfax, Russia's energy minister says has received no gas payments from Ukraine as of the Thursday deadline, Reuters reports.
  • Opinion: U.S. sanctions on Russia threaten America's space ambitions

    U.S. sanctions on Russia for its actions in Ukraine are weighing most heavily not on Earth-bound assets but on opportunities in outer space.

    Unless the Obama administration can find a way to lift the sanctions soon, the rich prospects for America’s nascent private spaceflight industry may fade into dreams of what could have been. What’s worse, the immediate national security needs of the U.S. will suffer.

    Over the past several weeks, I’ve spoken with spaceflight analysts who report an ever-darkening tale of what Bill Harwood, the CBS News space analyst, calls “tit-for-tat diplomacy.” The trouble started when, weeks into the Ukraine crisis, NASA announced it was ceasing contacts with the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, except for the joint venture of the International Space Station (ISS). This was not at first seen as a major blow, since the ISS is almost all that NASA and Roscosmos share. However, the two agencies need to work closely together to maintain the station; and NASA’s astronauts are entirely dependent upon the Russian workhorse, the Soyuz capsule and rocket, to travel to and from low-Earth orbit.

    Stunningly, the Obama administration put Dmitry Rogozin, the Russian deputy prime minister for space and defense, on a sanctions list. The Kremlin retaliated soon after. Rogozin announced that Russia would cease selling the RD-180 engine to the U.S. for military payloads. The RD-180 is used by United Launch Alliance (ULA), a Boeing and Lockheed Martin partnership, which in turn produces the workhorse of the U.S. launch fleet, the Atlas V.

    Loss of the RD-180 is hard on immediate plans. Not only does NASA need the Atlas V to launch its major probes, such as the Mars rover Curiosity, but the Defense Department also uses the Atlas to launch communications satellites. There are only 16 such engines in U.S. possession, about two years’ worth at the present launch scheduling. Harwood told me that to replace the RD-180 will require a major appropriation, perhaps $1 billion, and five to six years of development. The lone alternative for now is the much more expensive ULA Delta 4 launcher.

    Read more at Al Jazeera America
  • Ukraine's Poroshenko vows to punish pro-Russian 'terrorists'

    Ukraine's president-elect, Petro Poroshenko, promised late Thursday to punish pro-Russian rebels who hours earlier shot down an army helicopter in the east of the country, killing 14 soldiers.

    “These criminal acts perpetrated by the Ukrainian people’s enemies will not go unpunished,” he told Unian Ukrainian news agency.

    Poroshenko, who will be inaugurated on June 7, called the pro-Russian rebels "terrorists" and "bandits," supported by “outside” forces.

    The White House has previously expressed concern at Russia's alleged role in supporting rebels in Ukraine's eastern regions, and has asked Moscow to use its influence to end the conflict. Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied the allegations, although a rebel leader on Thursday admitted that 33 out of the 40 rebels killed in a battle for Donetsk airport were Russian nationals from Muslim regions, including Chechnya.

    Pro-Russian rebels targeted the Ukrainian helicopter on Thursday amid heavy fighting around the eastern city of Slovyansk.

    Ukraine’s acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, told the parliament in Kiev that rebels used a portable air-defense missile to down the helicopter and said Gen. Volodymyr Kulchitsky was among the dead.

    "I have just received information that terrorists using Russian antiaircraft missiles shot down our helicopter near Slovyansk. It had been ferrying servicemen for a change of duty," Turchynov said.

    Read more at Al Jazeera America
  • Another team of monitors of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe has been detained in eastern Ukraine, the Vienna-based OSCE said on Friday.

    The OSCE said the team of four international monitors and a Ukrainian language assistant was stopped in the town of Severodonetsk, 100 kilometres (62 miles) north of Luhansk by armed men. It said it had lost contact with the team at around 7 p.m. (1600 GMT) on Thursday.

    The detained team from the OSCE's special monitoring mission is in addition to another missing team in the east of the country, which was last heard from on the evening of May 26, the OSCE said.

    [Reuters]
  • The OSCE says it has lost contact with some members of its Luhansk-based team, in addition to the team that is still missing in eastern Ukraine, Reuters reports.

    The OSCE announced Tuesday it had lost contact with one of its monitoring teams in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk.

    Monitoring teams, as well as journalists, have increasingly come under attack in conflict zones — in both Ukraine, as well as Syria.
  • Ukrainian forces will press ahead with a military offensive against rebels in the east until peace and order have been restored there, Ukraine's acting defense minister said on Friday.

    Speaking after 14 servicemen, including a general, were killed on Thursday when rebels shot down an army helicopter, the minister, Mykhailo Koval, said: "Our given task is to bring peace and order to the region."

    Repeating charges that Russia was carrying out "special operations" in the east of Ukraine, Koval said Ukrainian forces would continue with military operations in border areas "until these regions begin to live normally, until there is peace."

    [Reuters]
  • In a call with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, Secretary of State Kerry voiced concern about reports of foreign fighters, especially Chechens, crossing from Russia into Ukraine, Reuters reports.
  • This is the state of most of the Donetsk Administration Building http://pbs.twimg.com/media/Boz6ZpqIcAINEKM.jpg

  • And there go the barricades of the Donetsk People's Republic http://pbs.twimg.com/media/Boz5ylYIYAAREGA.jpg

  • Crazy times in the Donetsk people republic where the pro-Russia Vostok battalion has kicked out the separatists & is purging the ranks
  • Ukrainian President-elect Poroshenko has signaled the country will sign an economic pact with the European Union next month, The Wall Street Journal reports.

    From the Journal:

    Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko said the economic portion of a broad pact between the European Union and Ukraine should be signed directly after his inauguration next month.


    Ukrainian leaders signed the political half of the pact in March. At the time, they said they would wait until after the Ukrainian presidential elections on May 25 to sign the remainder of the EU deal. The second portion covers trade and economic measures designed to bring the former Soviet republic closer to Europe. (Read the latest updates on the crisis in Ukraine.)


    Known as the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, the wide-ranging treaty is the cornerstone of Europe's diplomatic efforts to integrate Ukraine. Russia strongly opposed its neighbor signing the treaty, instead urging Ukraine to sign up to a separate trade union it formed with other former Soviet republics.


    When former President Viktor Yanukovych declined to sign the EU pact late last year and pivoted toward Russia, protests against his government erupted in central Kiev, eventually leading to his ouster in February. The new pro-Europe government has promised to follow through on EU integration.



    Support for this agreement, in part, is what sparked last year's EuroMaidan protests in Kiev, ultimately leading to then-President Yanukovich's ouster. 

    Poroshenko's apparent eagerness to sign a deal with the EU could be interpreted as a sign he is looking to move closer to the West and away from Moscow. 
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