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EU leaders keep door open for Ukraine to sign cooperation deal despite earlier snubs

  • A crowd of pro-European Union activists, in back, block the entrance to Independence Square to supporters of Yanukovych's party of Regions in Kiev, Ukraine Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013. Thousands of anti-government demonstrators continued to occupy Kiev's Independence Square on Thursday, expressing their anger over a bailout Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych negotiated with Russia earlier this week. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

    A crowd of pro-European Union activists, in back, block the entrance to Independence Square to supporters of Yanukovych's party of Regions in Kiev, Ukraine Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013. Thousands of anti-government demonstrators continued to occupy Kiev's Independence Square on Thursday, expressing their anger over a bailout Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych negotiated with Russia earlier this week. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pro-European Union activists watch firework during a rally in Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013. President Vladimir Putin says Russia's $15-billion bailout for Ukraine is driven by a desire to help a partner in a desperate situation and isn't linked to its talks with the European Union. The Kremlin's move comes as Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych faces massive street protests over his decision to spike a pact with the EU in favor of closer ties with Russia. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

    Pro-European Union activists watch firework during a rally in Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013. President Vladimir Putin says Russia's $15-billion bailout for Ukraine is driven by a desire to help a partner in a desperate situation and isn't linked to its talks with the European Union. The Kremlin's move comes as Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych faces massive street protests over his decision to spike a pact with the EU in favor of closer ties with Russia. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)  (The Associated Press)

European Union leaders are making renewed calls to Ukraine to sign a cooperation deal despite snubs from President Viktor Yanukovyck who wants closer ties with Moscow instead.

Days after Russia announced a $15 billion bailout package for Ukraine and pledges to discount gas exports, EU leaders said Friday that Ukraine should still align itself with the 28-nation bloc for the economic advantages of a market of 500 million consumers and aid possibly in excess of $26 billion over a seven-year span.

President Dalia Grybauskaite of Lithuania, which holds the EU presidency said that "Europe is open for Ukrainian people, but not necessarily for this government. That's the message."

The diplomatic battle for Ukraine has been cast in geopolitical terms as a standoff between Russia and the West.