Friday

7th Aug 2020

EU rebukes Russia on Ukraine trade

  • Freight train: Russia hopes to get Kiev into to the Eurasian Union by 2015, the leaked document says (Photo: thejaymo)

The European Commission has reprimanded Russia over its attempt to intimidate Ukraine on trade.

Its spokesman, John Clancy, said in a statement on Tuesday (20 August) that: "Any economic threat from Russia directed against Ukraine and linked with a possible signature of the association agreement with the EU is unacceptable."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Citing Russia's commitments as a member of the World Trade Organisation, he added it is "essential that the talks with the EU on a free trade area will not interfere with Ukrainian plans to develop constructive relations with the Customs Union and the Eurasian economic area [two Russian-led trade blocs]."

The EU complaint comes after Russia imposed new customs checks on Ukrainian imports between 14 August and 20 August, causing a standstill in rail and road freight.

Ukraine's customs ministry on Tuesday noted that: "The Russian side [has] assured [us] that as of today, additional customs control procedures do not apply."

But there are signs the mini trade war is not over yet.

Kazakhstan, Russia's partner, along with Belarus, in the Customs Union, the same day halted Ukrainian poultry imports on phytosanitary grounds.

The developments come three months before Ukraine hopes to sign a political association and free trade pact with the EU.

The signature is not a done deal because of EU concerns on Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's jailing of political opponents.

But the pact is seen by both EU and Ukrainian diplomats as a way to pull the former Soviet republic out of Russia's sphere of influence and to put it on the road to future EU membership.

For his part, German centre right MEP Elmar Brok, one of Yanukovych's toughest critics in terms of democratic standards, said on Tuesday: "The EU, as a concerned party in the conflict, has to act to defend Ukraine."

Brok's statement, issued together with Polish centre-right deputy Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, added: "It is not at all a trade dispute, but a very serious political conflict with a geopolitical background."

A senior advisor to Russian leader Vladimir Putin, Sergei Glazyev, earlier told press the trade blockade is designed to show Kiev what will happen if it takes the "suicidal" step of signing the EU agreement.

A Ukrainian trade federation said if Russia imposed the new checks permanently, it would cost its member companies €1.9 billion a year.

Tension in Ukrainian political circles increased this week due to a publication, by Ukrainian website Dzerkalo Tyzhnia, of a 10-page document it says is a Russian strategy paper on how to sabotage Ukraine's EU aspirations.

Its authenticity was lent weight by Volodymyr Ohryzko, a former Ukrainian foreign minister, who told the RFE/RFL news agency the paper proves "there is a systematic ideological, political, economic, and information war being waged against Ukraine."

The paper calls for Russian puppet organisations in Ukraine to counter pro-EU moves with a view to Kiev signing up to Russia's Customs Union by 2015.

Russians top EU asylum seekers

The EU saw the highest number of asylum seekers come from Russia at the beginning of this year, with Syrians following closely behind.

Putin warns Ukraine against EU pact

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned Ukraine he will take "protective measures" if it signs an EU free trade pact.

News in Brief

  1. Germany breached rights of Madeleine McCann suspect
  2. EU offers trade perks to Lebanon
  3. Germany charges four ex-Audi chiefs on emissions cheating
  4. UK quarantines Belgium, as European infections climb
  5. Bulgaria's Borissov mulls resignation
  6. EU prolongs anti-dumping duties on Chinese steel
  7. Swedish economy contracted less during April to June
  8. EU offers help to Lebanon after port explosion

Feature

The Hagia Sophia and the global battle of symbols

The Turkish president's decision to restart Islamic worship services in Istanbul's Hagia Sophia last Friday is not innocent. So how should we react? By doing the opposite - and make Cordoba's famous Mosque/Cathedral in Cordoba a museum.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  3. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  5. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis

Latest News

  1. Iraqis paid €2,000 each agree to leave Greece
  2. EU's most sustainable islands are Danish 'Sunshine Islands'
  3. Worrying rows over future EU chemicals policy
  4. Rainbow flag protesters charged by Polish police
  5. An open letter to the EPP on end of Hungary's press freedom
  6. Renew Europe has a plan to combat gender-violence
  7. Why EU beats US on green pandemic recovery
  8. Azerbaijan ambassador to EU shared anti-George Floyd post

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us