President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso have criticized Russia for putting pressure on Ukraine.

In a joint statement issued on Monday, the two officials said they were aware of the external pressure that Ukraine was experiencing, adding that they were hoping that this short delay would not outweigh the long-term benefits such a partnership might bring, Interfax-Ukraine reported.

They said that it was up to Ukraine to freely decide on the form of engagement with the European Union.

"The European Union will not force Ukraine, or any other partner, to choose between the European Union or any other regional entity," the statement reads.

"It is up to Ukraine to freely decide what kind of engagement they seek with the European Union. Ukrainian citizens have again shown these last few days that they fully understand and embrace the historic nature of the European association."

The European Union is ready to clarify to Russia the mutual beneficial impact of increased trade and exchanges with their neighbors, while fully respecting the sovereignty and independence of the Eastern Partnership countries and the bilateral nature of the association agreement, Barroso and Van Rompuy said.

According to them, the European Union looks forward to the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius this week.

"It will be an important moment to take stock of the situation and take forward the relations with our Eastern partners," their statement reads.

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