ST. PETERSBURG, May 23 (RIA Novosti) – Europeans displayed snobbery during consultations on Ukraine by not discussing economic cooperation issues with Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday.
“What answer did we get? That it didn’t concern us. Excuse me, I don’t want to offend anyone, but haven’t seen that type of snobbism for a long time. They simply didn’t talk to us. They said: None of your business,” Putin said.
"Through absolutely modern diplomatic means we had been proving that the proposed document is at least not consistent with Russian interests as we aimed for close economic cooperation with Ukraine," he added.
The Russian president was speaking at the annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which is hosting official delegations from 62 countries and CEOs of 146 major world companies this year.
Mass opposition protests erupted across Ukraine in November after President Viktor Yanukovych rejected an association agreement and trade pact with the EU, opting instead for closer ties with Russia. The move sparked nationwide protests with eventually led to the overthrow of the president and his government.
The Ukrainian government cited significant economic losses because of shrinking trade volumes with Russia and other former Soviet countries as a reason for rejecting the deal.