German minister praises Kiev, Ukraine seeks EU energy

March 22, 2014 21:57

KIEV/DONETSK - Germany's foreign minister pledged to help the new Ukrainian government on Saturday and heard an appeal from the prime minister in Kiev that it will need energy from the European Union to secure it against Russia cutting supplies.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier praised premier Arseny Yatseniuk for statements aimed at reassuring Russian-speakers in the east of the country. Later, after visiting eastern business leaders, the German minister said he believed they backed Ukrainian unity and would oppose secession of the kind seen last week in Crimea.

Ukrainians could be "sure of their neighbors' support".

In Kiev, Yatseniuk said Ukraine would need energy from the European Union to protect it from repercussions of its standoff with Moscow, on which it depends for over half its oil and gas.

Russia's annexation of the majority ethnic Russian Crimea peninsula and warnings of possible intervention in eastern regions have put the ex-Soviet neighbors at daggers drawn since the overthrow of Ukraine's Moscow-backed president a month ago.

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