Sunday

18th Feb 2018

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."

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

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.

EU warns Turkey over 'threat' to Cyprus

The European Commission called on Ankara to refrain from doing "damage to good neighbourly relations", after Turkish vessels stop a rig from reaching a gas drilling zone.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel: Nord Stream 2 pipeline poses 'no danger'
  2. Spanish king in Barcelona next week
  3. Turkey jails journalists for life
  4. Make budget cuts in farm and regional funds, the Dutch say
  5. UN: Hungary's anti-migration bill is 'assault on human rights'
  6. Journalist Deniz Yucel freed in Turkey
  7. New organic farming bill not ready until late spring
  8. Commissioner: Western Balkans in EU is 'obvious'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  2. EPSUMovie Premiere: 'Up to The Last Drop' - 22 February, Brussels
  3. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  4. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  6. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  7. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name
  8. Dialogue PlatformBeyond the Errors in the War on Terror: How to Fight Global Militarism - 22 February
  9. Swedish EnterprisesHarnessing Globalization- at What Cost? Keynote Speaker Commissioner Malmström
  10. European Friends of ArmeniaSave The Date 28/02: “Nagorno-Karabakh & the EU: 1988-2018”
  11. European Heart NetworkSmart CAP is Triple Win for Economy, Environment and Health
  12. European Free AlllianceEFA Joined the Protest in Aiacciu to Solicit a Dialogue After the Elections

Latest News

  1. EU asks charities to explain anti-abuse measures
  2. ECB, Budget, EU elections This WEEK
  3. EU states stay mute on implementation of mercury bill
  4. Baltic states demand bigger EU budget
  5. Germany raises concerns over Hungary's 'Stop Soros' bills
  6. EU ties Brexit transition talks to divorce agreement
  7. EU divided over Western Balkan enlargement
  8. Facebook and Twitter weak on protecting users, says EU