Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko arrives for a EU Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels on November 24, 2017. / AFP / POOL / Virginia Mayo
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EU leaders pressed Ukraine Friday to speed up reforms that Europe and the United States hope will bring the country closer to the West but Kiev responded that it needed a promise it could join the bloc.As fighting escalated in Ukraine's industrial east, EU leaders held a summit with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and five other former Soviet republics to also send the message that economic cooperation need not antagonize Moscow.Backed by Washington, the European Union is seeking to build an outer ring of market democracies from the Caucasus to the Sahara without offering EU membership, a policy that has had limited success so far.600 million euros ($712 million) in financial-sector loans from the EU is still held up by Ukraine's failure to meet conditions.EU governments fear the political opportunity to implement anti-corruption reforms is passing Ukraine by as it approaches elections in 2019 .
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