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Putin slams Ukraine protests as 'pogrom, not revolution'

Russian strongman Vladimir Putin on Monday slammed street protests in Ukraine against the government's decision not to sign a key agreement with the European Union and seek closer ties with the Kremlin.

"The events in Ukraine seem more like a pogrom than a revolution," Putin said during a visit to Armenia.

"It has little to do with Ukraine's relations with the European Union," he said.

Putin said that the demonstrations were linked to internal political struggles inside Ukraine and called them a "false start" ahead of presidential elections in 2015.

"These actions were prepared from outside. We see how well-organised groups of fighters are involved."

"It is an attempt to rattle the legitimate government," Putin said.

Ukrainian protesters Monday blockaded administrative buildings and camped on Kiev's central square in a bid to oust the government after police brutality and a row over a key political and free trade agreement with the EU plunged the nation into its worst political crisis in a decade.

Incensed by a crackdown on an opposition rally calling for the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych and his government, more than 100,000 led by politicians including world boxing champion Vitali Klitschko poured into the streets of Kiev and other Ukrainian cities on Sunday.

Ex-soviet Ukraine was meant to sign an agreement to bring closer ties with the EU at a summit last month but Yanukovych backed out at the last minute citing pressure from Moscow.



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