Ukraine-Russia deal won't appease protesters: White House

AFP , Tuesday 17 Dec 2013

The White House said Tuesday an economic deal between Russia and the Ukraine does not address the concerns of Ukrainian protesters calling for an accord to move closer to the European Union.

The agreement, in which Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to buy $15 billion of Ukrainian bonds and slash its gas bill by a third, "will not address the concerns of those who have gathered in public protest across Ukraine," spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.

"We urge the Ukrainian government to listen to its people and to find a way to restore a path to the peaceful, just, democratic and economically prosperous European future to which Ukrainian citizens aspire," he added during his daily briefing.

The Russia-Ukraine deal was announced during a visit by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to Moscow.

The ex-Soviet nation of 46 million has been at the heart of a furious diplomatic tug of war since Yanukovych's shock decision last month to ditch the landmark EU partnership agreement and seek closer ties with its traditional master Russia.

The help from Russia may allow Kiev to stave off the threat of an imminent balance-of-payments crisis and possible default amid a recession that has seen the economy shrink since the first half of last year.

But the pro-European opposition in Ukraine denounced the deal as a surrender of Ukrainian sovereignty to Russia.

Kiev's reversal on the EU pact has sparked the largest anti-government rallies since the 2004 pro-democracy Orange Revolution that first nudged Ukraine on a westward path.

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