EU Boosts Support For Ukraine Visa-Free Travel Deal

Woman wearing an Ukrainian flag in Kiev's Independence Square

"The meeting most likely will be in December", he said.

Although the meeting was scheduled for late November - during the last meeting of the so-called Normandy Quartet, comprising the Presidents of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany - the Russian Foreign Ministry had so far expressed uncertainty about the effectiveness of the format.

Measures to tackle endemic corruption are a key demand from the European Union for visa-free travel from Ukraine, though, along with the United States, it continues to support the country in its conflict with Russian Federation.

Fifteen European countries have joined Germany in its push for a new arms control agreement with Moscow, saying more dialogue is needed to prevent an arms race in Europe after Russia's actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, a German newspaper said.

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"The next round of talks should happen in Brussels soon", he said.

The EU strengthened its support for Ukraine on Thursday, allocating millions of euros for an anti-corruption programme in the former Soviet republic and inching closer to enabling Ukrainians to travel to the EU without a visa.

The EU stipulated that the system be in place as a requirement for a visa-free agreement with the bloc. "We highly appreciate the efforts of the Ukrainian government in implementing broad-scaled reforms in extremely hard circumstances".

European Parliament President Martin Schultz, left, walks with, from second left, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker during arrivals for an EU-Ukraine summit at the European Council building in Brussels on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016.

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But the future of that partnership is uncertain after Dutch voters rejected it in a referendum earlier this year.

Mr Tusk said he was confident a compromise could be reached before the summit in Brussels. This may include a commitment not to sanction European Union membership for Ukraine or give further financial assistance to Kiev.

Meanwhile, US President-elect Donald Trump has stated publicly that he wants a different relationship with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.

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