Yanukovych, in an interview
with several Ukrainian TV channels, said that he plans to attend the Eastern
Partnership Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Nov. 28-29, but is not ready to
cement closer ties with the EU.

Reuters quoted him as saying th EU offer was humiliating. “We don’t have to be humiliated like this. We are a serious country. A European one,” the news service quoted him as saying.

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According to Yanukovych’s official website, the president said Ukraine will need 20 billion euros annually “for the Ukrainian economy to switch to the European standards. Overall, about 160 billion euros are necessary until 2017.”

Excerpts of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s interview with TV journalists.

Ukraine was supposed to have signed
a landmark deal with the EU at the summit, but abruptly did a U-turn and
canceled such plans on Nov. 21. The reversal has triggered EuroMaidan protests
in their sixth day throughout Ukraine and among supporters of Ukraine’s
European aspirations in other nations.

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Tens of thousands people have
taken to the streets of Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities daily in the biggest
anti-government protests since the 2004 Orange Revolution. The aim is to
pressure Yanukovych to reverse his Nov. 21 decision and sign the deal in
Vilnius.

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Editor’s Note: Join top government officials, leading industry CEOs, business owners and other experts to discuss Ukraine’s future after the Vilnius Summit at this year’s Kyiv Post Tiger Conference, which will be held on Dec 3 in Premier Palace Hotel. The guests and speakers will assess the effects on Ukrainian political and economic life of not signing an association agreement with the European Union at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Nov. 28-29.  Register now

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Yanukovych made clear he
wasn’t going to reverse the government’s decision.

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“Do we have to go blindfolded
and run anywhere? We already were running very fast. We overcame in a short period
a very big distance. We may get problems,” he said in the televised interviews.
“As soon as we reach a level that is comfortable for us, when it meets our
interests, when we agree on normal terms, then we will talk about
signing,” Yanukovych said, adding that he doesn’t know when it will happen.
But he said he wants the EU-Ukraine association agreement to be signed as soon
as possible.

He also said that he
“applauded to those who went to the streets for European integration and those
who came under their flags and slogans with which they are already going for
the elections in 2015. I perfectly see this.”

Kyiv Post staff writer Oksana Grytsenko can be reached at [email protected]

 

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