The European Union will provide 470 million euros ($651mn) in financial assistance to Ukraine for the period until 2013, the European Commission said, RIA Novosti reported.

The deal was signed on Wednesday by Ukraine's First Deputy Prime Minister Andriy Klyuyev and EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele.

The funds are designed to boost the rule of law and governance in the country in order to speed up the signing of the Association Agreement with the EU.

Ukraine's European integration policy faces three tasks: visa cancelation, creating a free trade zone and receiving associate membership in the EU.

Ukraine hopes to conclude talks on the Association Agreement, part of which is the free trade zone provision, in the first half of 2011.

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