YALTA, September 15 (Itar-Tass) —— Accession to the Customs Union could allow Ukraine to buy Russian natural gas at a lower price, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said.
“If Ukraine wants price advantages [in gas supplies] in relations with Russia, Kiev may have to join the Customs Union,” Dvorkovich said at the 9th annual meeting “Yalta European Strategy” on Saturday, September 15.
“Customs Union partners get certain price advantages from cooperation within the organisation,” he added.
Dvorkovich noted that the state does not want to interfere in the talks between Gazprom and its partners.
Ukraine will pay the same gas price as Russian consumers pay if it joins the Customs Union, Russian State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin said earlier.
“The question of accession of any - fourth of fifth - country to the Customs Union is the exclusive and sovereign business of each country. Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan are not pressuring any one, but have made calculations regarding the benefits Ukraine will enjoy if it joins the Customs Union,” he said.
“Speaking of integral effect, it has been calculated that it will amount to 900 billion U.S. dollars for our three countries over 20 years,” Naryshkin said.
But if Ukraine joins the Customs Union, “it will be even bigger - 1.1 trillion U.S. dollars,” he added.
Ukraine may join the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus as its full member, Ukrainian Security Council Secretary Andrei Klyuyev said earlier.
“I want to confirm, one more time our intention to develop cooperation with the Customs Union in the ‘3+1’ format. This format does not rule out full membership of our state in this association,” Klyuyev said.
Ukraine and the Customs Union countries are engaged in a normal and respectful dialogue, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich said.
“There is no conflict between us. We are engaged in dialogue,” he said.
The president said, “Ukraine is a WTO member, while Russia and Kazakhstan are in the process of accession to this international organisation. As soon as they enter the WTO and the Customs Union has its rules in place and working, we will look at its effectiveness.”
“If the Customs Union meets [our] national interests, we will decide then,” he added.
Yanukovich stressed, “We want to look into the future consciously and intelligently”.
He proposed “3+1” participation in Customs Union for Ukraine.
“We are working on these documents [on Ukraine's access to the Customs Union by the '3+1' formula] practically every day. Work is now underway at the level of authorised representatives of the governments of Russia and Ukraine. And our president will discuss them with the president of Russia tomorrow,” Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov said earlier.
According to the prime minister, the “3+1” formula can be filled with real substance. “We have an interest in a number of agreements that have already been formed in the Customs Union, and we are working on these agreements right now,” he said.