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Ukraine’s former PM says no Russian pressure behind EU deal rejection

February 04, 2015, 14:57 UTC+3 MOSCOW
"I have never heard Putin or Medvedev say that if you sign the agreement with the EU, then you will have another government and the president," Mykola Azarov told reporters
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Ukraine’s former Prime Minister Mykola Azarov

Ukraine’s former Prime Minister Mykola Azarov

© Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS

MOSCOW, February 4. /TASS/. The Russian political leadership had not pressured Ukraine’s authorities to backtrack on the association agreement with the European Union, Ukraine’s former Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said on Wednesday.

Azarov resigned after weeks of Maidan protests in late January 2014, which came following ex-President Viktor Yanukovych's refusal to sign the key EU association pact in November 2013.

On Wednesday, the politician presented his book about the Maidan events titled "Ukraine at the crossroads" at a press conference in Moscow. Azarov has been reportedly working on the book for a year since his escape from Kiev.

"I have never heard [President Vladimir] Putin or [Prime Minister Dmitry] Medvedev say that if you sign the agreement with the EU, then you will have another government and the president," Azarov told reporters.

On the contrary, Russia and China had agreed to provide Ukraine with up to $42 billion in loans and investment. "Ukraine could have seen a significant economic recovery," Azarov said.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian side was subjected to pressure on the part of the EU, he said.

Azarov said the current situation in Ukraine is "catastrophic" with more than 5,000 peaceful citizens killed, and some 5,800 residential buildings and over 1,500 industrial facilities and schools destroyed.

The current Ukrainian leadership has brought the country to a 10,000 megawatts deficit in generating capacity, while when Azarov was resigning, there was a surplus, he claimed.

The politician said he is not planning to return to Ukraine until the current regime exists in Kiev.

"I don’t want to return to Ukraine, it’s my country, but I will not manage to do it," he said, reminding that last month a Kiev district court ordered his arrest.

However, Azarov noted that he is ready to help the country resolve the crisis saying that he has enough skills for this effort. He added that the current situation in the country cannot last long.

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