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Russia, Ukraine agree to boost ties

MOSCOW — Russian and Ukrainian officials have signed a series of agreements to boost trade and industrial cooperation between the ex-Soviet neighbors.

The agreements signed Tuesday include a deal to settle disputes in mutual trade, an agreement to jointly modify a Soviet-designed transport plane, a deal on industrial cooperation and a pact to design a bridge across the Kerch Strait.

Protesters in Ukraine, who have camped on the capital's main square for nearly a month, have warily watched Tuesday's talks in Moscow between Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, fearing they could reflect the Kremlin's effort to pull Ukraine closer into the Russian orbit.

The protests were triggered by Yanukovych's decision to ditch a pact with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia.