Ukraine wants 20 billion euros ($27.54 billion) in aid from the European Union in return for signing an agreement on trade and cooperation, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said on Wednesday.
In remarks made at a cabinet meeting, while thousands protested in the capital Kiev at Ukraine's decision to scrap plans to sign the agreement, Azarov urged the EU to understand the position of the country's industry.
He said the 28-country bloc should join in mutually profitable projects in Ukraine, a former Soviet state of 46 million people reliant on Soviet-era steel and chemical production.
Instead of signing agreements last month that would marked a symbolic move away from former Soviet master Moscow, Ukraine decided to rebuild economic ties with Russia, prompting protests by demonstrators who want President Viktor Yanukovich to quit.
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"We suggest that the European Union invest in mutually profitable projects such as the modernization and development of European transport corridors, and the creation of a new corridor to the Caucasus," he said.
"Now European officials look at the protests in Maidan (in central Kiev) and are not rushing to consider such projects and questions about the size of aid. And who will benefit from these protests: European officials or the Ukrainian people, who urgently need economic and financial help?"