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Ukraine seeks 20 bln euros in EU aid

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Ukraine seeks 20 bln euros in EU aid
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Ukraine wants 20 billion euros in economic aid from the EU in return for signing a trade pact with the bloc.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is in Kiev for talks with the government, but the European Commission rejected the demands made by Ukrainian prime minister Mykola Azarov.

“We consider that Ukrainian prosperity and Ukrainian future cannot be subjected to a call of tender where the highest bidder will get the price,” said European Commission spokesman Olivier Bailly.

The calls from Brussels were echoed by Washington, with US officials urging President Yanukovich to reconsider closer ties with Russia and sign an agreement with the EU.

Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland told reporters: “We also made clear that we believe there is a way out for Ukraine and it is still possible to save Ukraine’s European future, and that’s what we want to see the president lead, and that’s going to require immediate security steps.”

Riot police in Kiev charged at demonstrators during the night of Tuesday. The opposition fears Yanukovich will use the security services to crack down on any dissent over his decision to move Ukraine further into Russia’s orbit.