Ukraine Interim Leaders Seek EU Integration

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton travels to Ukraine as Western countries – including Britain – pledge support.

Ukraine’s interim leaders will hold talks today on the country’s financial future as the European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton arrives in Kiev.

Baroness Ashton is expected to meet opposition figures to discuss measures to shore up Ukraine’s ailing economy.

EU officials have offered financial aid to a new government in Ukraine, and to revive a trade deal that President Viktor Yanukovych spurned last November.

In addition to any economic assistance the EU might offer, the United States and Britain have also promised financial help.

A makeshift memorial to protesters who died in clashes with police


Speaking from Singapore, Chancellor George Osborne said Britain was “ready to provide financial assistance” to help rebuild Ukraine’s economy.

Discussions of Ukraine’s future come after the country’s interim leadership set a course for European integration now that Mr Yanukovych has been ousted.

Ukraine’s new leaders are also seeking relations with Russia on a “new, equal and good-neighbourly footing”, according to acting President Oleksandr Turchyno.

Baroness Ashton will arrive in Ukraine later today

Russia said on Sunday that it had recalled its ambassador in Ukraine for consultations on the “deteriorating situation” in Kiev.

The unrest began in Ukraine back in November after Mr Yanukovych rejected the EU deal in favour of forming closer ties with Russia.

The clashes between protesters and riot police killed 82 people – the worst violence since the country gained independence in 1991.

In the wake of the violence on the streets of Kiev, the US warned Russia that it would be committing a “grave mistake” if it sends troops into Ukraine.

As the country moves towards a new government, US national security adviser Susan Rice said it was in no one’s interest to see a split.

Mr Yanukovych was deposed by Parliament on Saturday after months of bloody unrest.

Mystery surrounds his whereabouts after he was refused permission to fly out of Ukraine. He has said he will not resign.

A woman lights a candle during a religious service in Kiev

CCTV has also emerged apparently showing items being removed from the presidential compound on Friday and a figure boarding a helicopter before it flew away.

Financial documents found in the abandoned compound also detailed Mr Yanukovych’s lavish spending, often on unusual items.

Among the documents was a receipt for $12m (£7.2m) in cash, and $110,000 (£66,000) spent on curtains in a room called the “Knight’s Hall”.

Some £1.5m (£900,000) was spent on plants, $115,000 (£69,000) for a statue of a “running boar”, and there was a receipt for a $4,000 (£2,400) “bribe”.

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