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MOSCOW, December 25. /TASS/. Ukraine cannot impose any counter sanctions against Russia as the latter has never imposed any on Ukraine, Russian First Deputy Minister of Economic Development Alexey Likhachev said on Friday.
"That country enjoyed a privileged regime even when it joined the Western sanctions against Russia," he told journalists. "Now that the agreements between the European Union and Ukraine came into force, in its tread and economic relations with Ukraine Russia has switched to the WTO (World Trade Organization) trade regime that is called most favored nation treatment, which implies normal business relations, without any restrictions but also without additional preferences."
In general, in his words, trade between Russia and Ukraine had dropped by 70% on 2011, when bilateral trade demonstrated biggest indices. "The trade balance, but for the gas component, always was in favor of Ukraine," Likhachev said.
According to earlier reports, Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada, or parliament, adopted a law vesting the country’s government with the authority to use economic sanctions against Russia.
Under the document, Ukraine’s cabinet of ministers can take "additional measures" in case of "discriminatory or unfriendly actions on the part of a state recognized by the Verkhovna Rada as an aggressor." Thus, the government will have the right "to impose a ban on foreign economic operations or to restrict such operation" and to cancel tariff preferences.
Russia suspends the free trade zone agreement with Ukraine and imposes a ban on imports of food products from that country from January 1, 2016.