Ukraine

Putin Says He Would Welcome Closer Ties Between Ukraine, EU

Has the potential to reduce the conflicts in Ukraine

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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.