February 8, 2014 - 15:43 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, who is facing mass protests and economic turmoil at home, held a one-on-one meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin in Sochi on the day of the opening of the Winter Olympics, a Kremlin aide said on Saturday, Feb 8, according to Reuters.
Friday's talks between the two presidents in the Russian Black Sea resort on the sidelines of the Olympic celebrations had been expected.
"There was a contact (between Putin and Yanukovich) in the course of the (Olympic) events. It was a one-on-one (meeting) during the opening events," Putin's foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov told reporters.
Ushakov declined to say what had been discussed or whether any agreements had been reached.
While the details of the latest meeting are unclear, a similar tete-a-tete between the two leaders late last year is thought to have led to Yanukovich's last-minute decision to spurn a trade deal with the European Union in favor of deeper economic ties with Russia.
The Sochi meeting is likely to have placed the ball firmly in Yanukovich's court. It follows talks on Wednesday in Kyiv between the Ukrainian leader and the EU's foreign policy chief.
Catherine Ashton told him the EU was ready to help Ukraine in many ways, both financially and with expertise, to improve its long-term economic development.