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Ukraine signs deal to align itself with Europe

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BRUSSELS (AP) — Ukraine's prime minister has pulled his nation closer into Europe's orbit by signing a political association agreement with the EU at a summit of the bloc's leaders.

Friday's agreement between Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and the EU leaders was part of the pact that former President Viktor Yanukovych backed out of last November in favor of a $15 billion bailout from Russia. That decision sparked the protests that ultimately led to his downfall and flight last month, setting off one of Europe's worst political crises since the Cold War.

Russian forces took control of Crimea two weeks ago in the wake of Yanukovych's ouster and President Vladimir Putin this week annexed the strategically important Black Sea peninsula.

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