Leaders of ex-Soviet countries discuss closer ties

AP News
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Posted: Oct 10, 2014 7:03 AM

MINSK, Belarus (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country does not oppose ex-Soviet states seeking closer ties with Western countries, but has criticized them for not taking Moscow's interests into account.

Leaders from the 11-member Commonwealth of Independent States met Friday in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, to discuss closer ties. The president of Ukraine — which is facing the most violent conflict in post-Soviet history, between government troops and pro-Russian insurgents — did not attend.

Putin lashed out at the European Union for "not considering it necessary ... to discuss the risks" of political and economic integration with post-Soviet countries. Ukraine's decision to sign an association agreement with the EU in September provoked complaints from the Kremlin that it would hurt Russia's economy.