KIEV, Ukraine, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Ukraine's Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov said stronger ties with Russia would improve Ukraine's business conditions, as he denounced closer ties with Europe.
In November, Ukraine announced a sudden reversal, pulling out of an economic agreement with the European Union that had long been in discussion.
Organizers estimated 200,000 demonstrators were in Kiev Saturday, attending an anti-European Union rally at Independence Square, RIA Novosti reported.
At the rally, Azarov said Ukraine is now positioned to sign a set of agreements Tuesday with the Russia that would increase their economic opportunities.
"We need to restore trade with the Russian Federation. And, at last, after long talks we have agreed on the removal of all disagreements with Russia. On Monday, we will complete these talks and ... we will sign a range of agreements that will give our businesses work," Azarov said at an anti-EU rally.
Azarov said the agreement with the EU "would mean bankrupting us." He also denounced the agreements that mandated Ukraine synchronize their position on same sex marriage and gay rights with that of the EU.
"The opposition leaders are telling fables when they say that we only have to sign the [association] agreement [with the EU] to start traveling to Europe visa-free the next day. Nothing of the sort. We have yet to comply with a whole set of preconditions: We have to legalize same-sex marriages, we have to adopt legislation on equality of sexual minorities, and so on. Is our society ready for this? " Azarov said.
Azarov has said Ukraine needed to "achieve stronger positions," in talks with Russia and the EU.
"Only then will they respect us," he said.