MOSCOW, July 11 (Reuters) - Russia urged the European Union on Friday to refrain from implementing a free-trade pact with Ukraine until Moscow’s concerns over the agreement are addressed.
Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev warned after talks in Brussels with EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klymkin that Moscow would have to reevaluate its customs rules with Ukraine once the Association Agreement came into force.
“I‘m afraid that our colleagues do not fully understand the scale of the problem that we will be faced with,” Ulyukayev was quoted as saying by Russian state news agency RIA, saying the agreement caused “risky areas” for Moscow.
“We insist that as long as these risky areas are not clarified, the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU should not enter into force.”
The EU signed the pact with Ukraine on June 27, committing to the same deal that Russian-backed former president Viktor Yanukovich rejected last November, a decision that contributed to his overthrow in February.
Moscow fears Ukraine may re-export EU products to Russia, avoiding duties that Russia imposes to protect its own output.
Before the three-way talks in Brussels, Ulyukayev told RIA the EU-Ukraine deal risked “the possibility of displacement of Russian goods on European market and Ukrainian goods from the Ukrainian market.” (Reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel, Editing by Timothy Heritage)