MOSCOW, November 9 (Itar-Tass) — Russia will bring down prices on gas sold to Ukraine if Kiev joins the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, a top-ranking official from the Russian ministry of foreign affairs said on Friday.
“Gas prices for countries of the Customs Union are much lower,” said Mikhail Yevdokimov, the director of the ministry’s first CIS department. “It will not be a special discount for Ukraine. It is an objective factor associated with the Customs Union membership.” The diplomat reassured that any state that opts to join the Customs Union would be offered the same conditions. “Ukraine is fully aware about the terms of the Customs Union membership,” he added.
He refuted media allegations that Ukraine’s talks with the European Union about a free trade zone might be an obstacle for its joining the Customs Union. Any state is free to be a member of two or more free trade zones, he stressed.
Earlier on Friday Mikhail Yevdokimov said that it might take from 18 months to two years for Ukraine to join the Customs Union.
As concerns Kyrgyzstan, he noted, a working group has been set up to tackle these issues and a plan has been drafted. “Accession of the Customs Union implies joining a whole range of documents,” he said. According to Yevdokimov, it will be clear when Kyrgyzstan can join the Customs Union by the end of the next year. “There are no political obstacles for that, only technical aspects,” he added.
The Russian diplomat also said that a working group had been set up to tackle issues of Armenia’s joining the Customs Union.