ST. PETERSBURG, May 23 (RIA Novosti) – The European Union has so far announced nothing but slogans about consultations on Ukraine’s possible association with the EU, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday.
"We still cannot approach the European Union on signing a full-fledged agreement on partnership … They finally offered consultations on Ukraine possibly joining the association with the European Union. So far there have been no consultations … besides slogans, there is nothing else," Putin said.
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.
Ukraine went through a regime change resembling a military coup on February 22, after months of clashes between the Russia-oriented authorities and supporters of Ukraine's affiliation with Europe. The country’s parliament ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, changed the constitution and scheduled early presidential elections for May 25.
Since March, when the former Ukrainian Crimean peninsula rejoined Russia, anti-government protests have been spreading across southeastern regions of the Ukraine.
Citizens of the mainly Russian-speaking southeast of Ukraine have refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the country’s interim government and the Donetsk and Luhansk regions have proclaimed autonomy.
Ukraine’s new interim authorities, backed by radical ultranationalist groups, launched a special operation to crack down on the protesters in mid-April, which has already led to dozens of deaths and injuries.