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Barroso rejects pressure on Ukraine over its ties to EU

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso addresses the European Parliament during a debate on the state of union, in Strasbourg, September 11, 2013. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

STRASBOURG (Reuters) - European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso implicitly criticised Russian pressure on Ukraine to scrap plans for closer ties with Europe on Wednesday, saying the EU could not accept attempts to limit eastern European countries' choices.

"Today, countries like Ukraine are more than ever seeking closer ties to the European Union, attracted by our economic and social model. We cannot turn our back on them. We cannot accept any attempt to limit these countries' own sovereign choices," Barroso said in his "state of the union" speech to the European Parliament.

(Reporting by Adrian Croft; Editing by Jan Strupczewski)