Home > News > World
Wednesday January 29, 2014 MYT 4:40:01 PM
Wednesday January 29, 2014 MYT 4:40:58 PM
PARIS (Reuters) - NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen criticised Russia on Wednesday for pressuring Kiev not to sign a free trade pact with the European Union, a move that triggered mass protests.
Ukraine, caught in a tug-of-war for influence between Moscow and Brussels, has been rocked by protests since it walked away from the EU association deal two months ago. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov resigned and deputies rolled back anti-protest laws to try to defuse the crisis.
"An association pact with Ukraine would have been a major boost to Euro-Atlantic security, I truly regret that it could not be done," Rasmussen told le Figaro daily. "The reason is well-known: pressure that Russia exerts on Kiev."
Rasmussen also condemned police violence against the protesters and pressed Ukraine's leaders to assert their independence, urging closer ties with his North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the European Union.
Noting that cooperation between NATO and Russia had improved in some areas, he criticised Russia's role in eastern Europe.
"We have real differences and real issues," he said. "It's obvious that Russia's attitude is clearly hostile to the (NATO) alliance opening to the east."
(Reporting By Nicholas Vinocur, editing by Elizabeth Piper)
Text of NATO's secretary-general's statement on Ukraine
NATO meets on Ukraine, says Russia risks destabilizing Europe
NATO deplores Russia's actions, offers no hard response
Obama says NATO needs to boost presence in eastern Europe
Ukraine's UN envoy - 'We are strong enough to defend ourselves'
Houthi rebels give Yemen's president 10 days to form government
Investigation continues into deadly Kansas airport plane crash
Muslim men over 50 pray at Jerusalem's Aqsa mosque amid tight security
Thousands denounce HSBC board member's likening of Hong Kong people to freed slaves
Canada security services struggle with extremist threat, resources gap
Russian media watchdog blasts radio station over Ukraine coverage
Suspect in killing of South Africa national football captain arrested
South-East Asian travel destinations are given the miss by some Chinese
Copyright © 1995-2014 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)