Thursday

22nd Jun 2017

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.

Speaking on Thursday (22 August) at an economic forum in Rostov-on-Don, near Ukraine's eastern border with Russia, he said: "If our neighbours opt to significantly liberalise customs rules with the European Union, the Ukrainian market will inevitably be flooded with high quality goods … and Ukrainian goods will be forced out of the Ukrainian market."

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Putin in Ukraine in July, banned Roshen chocolate after coming home (Photo: kremlin.ru)

He added: "Then, member states of the Customs Union will have to think about protective measures. Such a possibility exists."

The Customs Union includes Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia.

But Moscow wants to pull in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan as well and to transform it into an EU-type "Eurasian Union" in the coming years.

On the other side, the EU has offered to sign a political association and free trade pact with Ukraine in November if it improves rule of law.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov is due in Russia for talks on trade on Monday.

Putin's comments come in the wake of severe customs restrictions by Russian authorities between 14 and 20 August which caused a near standstill in Ukrainian road and rail imports.

Russia in July also banned Ukraine's top chocolate brand, Roshen, saying it caused cancer, while Kazakhstan on 20 August banned Ukrainian eggs.

An EU spokesman earlier this week said: "Any economic threat from Russia directed against Ukraine and linked with a possible signature of the association agreement with the EU is unacceptable."

But another risk is that Russia will interrupt gas supplies to Ukraine when its autumn/winter heating season begins in October, as it did in 2009, in a move which also hit eastern EU countries which depend on Ukrainian gas transit.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych is in a tricky spot.

If he goes against Putin, he risks losing the next elections due to pro-EU democratic reforms and Russian-inflicted economic pain.

But if he joins the Customs Union, he risks undermining Ukrainian sovereignty and giving Russian oligarchs a free hand in his country.

Opinion

Ukrainian PR: Beyond a paint job

Ukraine’s government recently allocated money for measures aimed at “encouraging” international media sources to say nice things about it.

Interview

EU visa waiver unlikely to import Ukraine crime

Visa-free travel, which began last week, unlikely to prompt a Ukrainian crime wave, an EU police expert has said, but Ukraine itself is seeing increases in lawlessness.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel denies Franco-German deal on EU agencies
  2. Dutch PM: Turkey is upholding migration deal
  3. Britain to outline rights of UK-based EU citizens
  4. Tusk can 'imagine' the UK still remaining in EU
  5. Norway offers more blocks for Arctic oil exploration
  6. EU court lowers evidence standards in vaccine ruling
  7. Merkel and Macron to speak at Kohl's EU ceremony
  8. EU commission presents plan to enhance tax transparency

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join a Lively Debate on Violence Against Girls I 29 June
  2. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  3. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  4. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  5. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  6. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million
  7. EUSEW17Bringing Buildings Into the Circular Economy. Discuss at EU Sustainable Energy Week
  8. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan an Ideal Body Weight Lead to Premature Death?
  9. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Charges: What Does It Entail?
  10. World VisionWorld Refugee Day, a Dark Reminder of the Reality of Children on the Move
  11. European Social Services ConferenceDriving innovation in the social sector – 26-28 June
  12. Dialogue PlatformMuslims Have Unique Responsibility to Fight Terror: Opinon From Fethullah Gülen

Latest News

  1. Lack of eligible candidates dogs EU relocation scheme
  2. Border management going virtual
  3. Tusk hints UK could stay in EU, if it wanted
  4. Merkel, Orban and the not quite closed Balkan route
  5. EU set to roll over Russia sanctions amid defence talks
  6. May to soothe EU leaders' post-election Brexit worries
  7. Leaders at EU summit to reinforce Libyan coast guard
  8. Macron reshuffles French government to ward off scandals