EU leaders set for frosty dinner with Ukraine's Yanukovich

News Manager

Milforums News Bot
By Luke Baker BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European leaders will come face-to-face with Viktor Yanukovich on Thursday for the first time since the Ukrainian president spurned their offer of a free-trade deal and decided to seek closer ties with Russia instead. In a meeting that promises to be one of the frostier moments of political theatre this year, Yanukovich plans to attend a dinner in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius to honor the Eastern Partnership, the EU's four-year-old program of outreach to former Soviet states. Ukraine had been expected to sign a far-reaching free-trade and political association deal with the EU at the Vilnius summit, the result of years of negotiation. But last week, following intense pressure from Moscow and growing concerns about Ukraine's dire economic situation, Yanukovich announced he wasn't ready to sign the EU deal yet and would bolster links with Russia.