POST Online Media Lite Edition


Yanukovych invites EU and Russia to negotiating table

Staff writer |
Kyiv wants to settle disputes about the Association Agreement (AA) with the European Union by having negotiations involving all three parties - EU, Russia and Ukraine - before the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius.

Such statement was made by the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych during his interview with five Ukrainian TV channels. The parties should discuss relations in terms of the Free Trade Area with the EU and CIS countries as well asthe reduction of trade turnover especially with Russia and CIS countries, said the Head of State.

"We cannot ignore our economic interests especially since we do not have any margin of safety. It is a threat for us," said President Yanukovych, explaining the recent resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine to halt the signing of the trade agreements with the EU. Taking into account Ukraine's overlapping interests both with the EU and Russia, the president insisted the country should seek a different, more equal level of partnership.

As to Russia, it was mentioned that Kyiv looked forward to resuming the strategic partnership agreement with the northern neighbor. Having Ukraine's economic interests at heart, the president mentioned that they would be the focal point during the upcoming Ukraine's chairmanship at the CIS Summit in 2014.

Gas contracts with Russia remain an issue for Ukraine. The price that Ukraine currently pays for Russian gas - $510 per thousand cubic meters - does not meet the market approach and needs to be adjusted, said the Head of State.

"We will buy gas where it is cheaper. It doesn't matter where... today we pay $370-380 for gas in Europe. If we can buy cheaper gas from Russia we will do it," said President Yanukovych.

Within a short time Ukraine made a great leap in establishing close relations with the EU, however, it may pose too many challenges for the country, noted the president, stressing that the national interests were the reason that precludes Ukraine from signing theAA with the EU.

In conclusion, President Yanukovych said that Ukraine was counting on assistance from the IMF and that he personally held negotiations with the Fund but received a negative response.

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