‘Work on hold’. With these words, EU enlargement commissioner Stefan Füle announced on Sunday via twitter that Brussels is suspending further talks with Ukraine on a landmark trade and political pact.
The Commission added that Kiev needs to show a “clear commitment to sign” the deal in order to continue the discussions.
The announcement came as reportedly 200,000 people faced freezing temperatures in Kiev while protesting against the decision of President Yanukovich to not sign the EU pact in favour of closer economic ties with Russia.
Yanukovich is due to visit Moscow on Tuesday to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Affairs Minister is also in Brussels, where he will discuss the Ukrainian situation with European ministers.
‘The door to the European Union remains open for Ukraine. The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will participate in discussions today, my opinion is that these discussions must take place without any change, discussions and exchange of views is particularly important in case of disagreement and Russia remains our strategic partner, even if we do not see anything the same way, it is important that the dialogue moves on’, said German Foreign Affairs Minister Guido Westerwelle.
‘I don’t believe that the crisis in Ukraine should have a negative impact in our relations with Russia. We have to look very seriously about the way which countries make the decisions. We are not entitled to make those decisions.’ said EU’s Foreign Affairs Chief Catherine Ashton.
Earlier last week, Füle pledged more aid to Kiev and to help it negotiate a loan from the IMF if it signs the agreement.