Putin Warns on Ukraine Pursuing Closer Ties With West

Interesting… Merkel went there, now Putin.  Look at the map bellow.  That is why they are fighting for.  Each time anybody read about Ukraine think of this map. The red lines are Natural gas Pipelines, green Oil and blue Products they merge in Ukraine. The World is a Business.

This URL has all the world maps

Russian Leader Focuses on Trade Issues in Peace Talks With Poroshenko

Updated Aug. 26, 2014 12:23 p.m. ET

Russian President Vladimir Putin focused on trade issues in his first comments at peace talks on Ukraine on Tuesday, threatening to scrap trade preferences with its neighbor if Kiev follows through on its plans to pursue closer relations with Europe.

Mr. Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko met for the first time in two months at the hotly awaited talks in Minsk, Belarus. They were joined by officials from the European Union, Belarus and Kazakhstan, all of whom stressed the need to end the bloodshed in eastern Ukraine, where an estimated 2,000 people have been killed since the onset of fighting in April.

“Today in Minsk, without any question, the fate of the world and the fate of Europe are being decided,” Mr. Poroshenko said.

Mr. Putin, however, stressed trade issues, highlighting the dangers he said Russia faces if Ukraine pursues closer ties to the West. Since the onset of the crisis, Mr. Putin has accused the West of meddling in Ukraine’s internal affairs, and trying to spoil its relations with Russia by luring it into an association agreement.

Speaking at a round table, Mr. Putin said that a trade agreement between Kiev and Europe will flood the Ukrainian market with Europe-made goods. Those same goods may then find their way into the Russian market, he said.

“In this situation Russia can not stand idle. And we will be prompted, I want to highlight this, will be prompted to take retaliatory measures, to protect our market,” Mr. Putin said.

Ukraine’s political crisis was caused by an abrupt move of Ukraine’s last president, Viktor Yanukovych, to sign a trade agreement with Russia, which is seeking to entice former Soviet states into a customs union. Mr. Yanukovych was subsequently toppled by street protests, and Mr. Poroshenko has pursued the agreement with Europe.

Ukraine is battling to oust a pro-Russian insurgency in its east, with the fighting intensifying in the last few days. Kiev accuses Russia of funneling men and arms across the border to fight the Ukraine government, a charge Russia denies.

In a fresh irritant to the talks, Ukraine earlier released videotaped interrogations of Russian soldiers it said were captured inside its borders. Ukraine said the Russian paratroopers were part of a column of infantry vehicles that had crossed into Ukraine and came under attack by Ukrainian forces on Monday.

Moscow confirmed to Russian news agencies the soldiers were Russian, but said they had wandered into Ukraine unintentionally.

“These servicemen did indeed participate in patrolling a section of Russian-Ukrainian border, and crossed it probably by accident at an unequipped and unmarked section,” the Russian defense ministry told the Interfax news agency Tuesday. “They showed no resistance to Ukraine’s armed forces when they were detained.”

Russia, which routinely denies helping rebels in Ukraine with any lethal weaponry, on Monday said that it wants to send another convoy of what it says is humanitarian aid into eastern Ukraine, which Kiev strongly opposes.

The last convoy, which was delivered to rebels without Ukrainian approval last week, was roundly condemned by the U.S. and the European Union.

In the videotapes released Tuesday, the soldiers said they were part of a paratroop unit based in the Russian provincial city of Kostroma, 340 kilometers (210 miles) northeast of Moscow. They said they had been ordered to the Ukrainian border for military exercises, and had been given uniforms stripped of any indications that they were Russian military units.

One of the soldiers said they knew they were heading into Ukraine, but another said they thought they were on an exercise inside the Russian border. “They started shooting at us, and my vehicle blew up,” said one. “Then I knew this wasn’t an exercise; it wasn’t just a march.”

Ukraine said the Russian paratroopers were part of a convoy that crossed into Ukraine. An earlier version of this article incorrectly said it crossed into Russia.





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