Putin Says He Would Welcome Closer Ties Between Ukraine, EU

Has the potential to reduce the conflicts in Ukraine


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.