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MOSCOW, December 22. /TASS/. Russia has no intention of sacrificing its economic interests for the sake of satisfying other’s ambitions, the Russian Foreign Ministry said following the 6th Russia-Ukraine-EU ministerial meeting.
"We cannot prevent the current leadership in Kiev from undermining their country’s economy and subordinating it to external forces acting to one’s detriment. This is Ukraine’s internal affair, its ‘sovereign choice,’ as bureaucrats in Kiev and Brussels put it," the ministry said. "It’s unclear though why Russia should pay for this choice. We have our own economic interests, which we are not going to sacrifice, the more so, to satisfy the ambitions of others."
The European Union’s and Ukraine’s uncompromising position at free trade talks has forced Russia to take measures to protect its legitimate interests and remove risks to its economy, the foreign ministry went on to say.
Moscow, according to the Russian foreign ministry, hoped that the free trade zone talks would help to preserve the current preferential regime of Russia-Ukraine trade that was beneficial for both sides and that had come at risk over Ukraine’s commitments under the association agreement.
"Regrettably, these hopes have failed to come true," the ministry said. "The EU and Ukraine also refused in principle to confirm any possible outcome of talks in a legally binding document, the ministry added. "The reason is simple: neither of our partners had even tried to seek compromise with Russia. Both Brussels and Kiev had seen the result of the negotiating process in merely telling Russia that its concerns "are groundless" and hence they had never wanted to make any steps to meet us halfway."
"The European Union and Ukraine categorically refused to commit to paper any possible results of the talks in a legally binding document reducing their proposals to mere monitoring of the situation and setting up new, useless as a matter of fact, working groups," the ministry said, adding that Ukraine "kept on incorporating the norms of the association agreement’s the ‘frozen’ provisions into its legislation in violation of the September 2014 accords and with the silent consent of the European Commission."
Despite the apparent hopelessness of the dialogue, Moscow has never turned down talks to expose the risks to the 25-year-long free trade regime between Russia and Ukraine stemming from Kiev’s and Brussels’ actions. "We have been pointing to concrete problems in the spheres of technical regulation, sanitary and phytosanitary control, customs cooperation that could have been solved only through joint efforts. We have been stressing the inadmissibility of discriminating Russian companies in the new economic reality formed in Ukraine," the ministry stressed.
"Our partners however were only simulating talks and indulged in apparent tactical manipulations seeking to play for time and confront Russia with an accomplished fact that the association agreement’s trade and economic provisions come into effect from January 1, 2016 regardless of the so-called talks," the ministry went on to say. "Brussels tried and is still trying to prove that the association agreement allegedly does not differ from standards free trade agreements that are widely used in world practice, whereas Kiev is trying to minimize the importance of the Russian-Ukrainian trade-and-economic ties and to picture ‘glowing prospects’ for Ukraine after it completely opens its domestic market for goods and manufacturers from the European Union."
In the long run, the European Union’s and Ukraine’s uncompromising position at the free trade talks has forced Russia to take measures to protect its legitimate interests and remove risks to its economy, the ministry stressed.
"As a result, an unprecedented problem situation has emerged. Its settlement required likewise unprecedented solutions but both Brussels and Kiev have demonstrated neither courage, nor political will, nor diplomatic wisdom to adopt them," the ministry said. "Moreover, the European Union has been seeking to dodge its responsibility for what is going on by saying that such problems should be settled in a bilateral, Russia-Ukraine, format and presenting itself as a kind of ‘unbiased arbitrator.’ We will be not surprised to hear this set of argument in Brussels’ comment on the talks that have proved to be absolutely useless due to its own fault."
"In the current conditions, Russia is forces to take measures to minimize risks to it economy and guarantee protection of its legitimate interests," the ministry said.