Monday

23rd Apr 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.

Analysis

Is Germany more hawkish on Russia?

Germany's socialist foreign minister just said the EU should "step up pressure" on Russia. Merkel aired "political" doubts on a Russian pipeline.

News in Brief

  1. Audit office: Brexit 'divorce' bill could be billions higher
  2. MEPs urge better protection for journalists
  3. Dieselgate: MEPs back greater role for EU in car approvals
  4. European parliament adopts new organic farming rules
  5. EU granted protection to half million people in 2017
  6. Report: Facebook to carve 1.5bn users out of EU privacy law
  7. Greek court ruling permits migrants to travel to mainland
  8. Commonwealth summit hopes for trade boost after Brexit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  2. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  3. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  4. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  5. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  6. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  7. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight
  9. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  10. Counter BalanceThe EIB Needs to Lead by Example on Tax Justice
  11. ILGA EuropeTrans People in Sweden to be Paid Compensation for Forced Sterilisation
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Danger of Standing Up for Justice and Rights in Central Asia

Latest News

  1. ECJ ruling set to end 10-year 'mouth tobacco' lobbying saga
  2. Whistleblowers, Syria and digital revolution This WEEK
  3. MEP friendship groups offer 'backdoor' for pariah regimes
  4. Macron and Merkel pledge euro reform
  5. Obscurity surrounds EU military fund's expert groups
  6. New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability
  7. Draghi to stay in secretive 'lobby' group
  8. Bulgaria offers lesson in tackling radical-right populists