GORKI, December 22. /TASS/. Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov has accused the European Union of cynicism for its attempt to shift responsibility for the failure of talks on Ukraine’s European integration onto Russia.
"The European Union’s statement that Russia bears responsibility for the failure of the talks because of its inflexibility looked very strange," he told journalists on Tuesday. "It least, it is mendacious and cynical, as we have always demonstrated flexibility and professionalism in a bid to find a way out of the situation so that Ukraine could implement the agreement on associated membership in the European Union," he said.
He stressed that throughout the 18-months' talks Russia had repeatedly said that its economic interests would be infringed upon by the Kiev-Brussels agreement. Thus, in his words, Russia had been worried over possible grey imports of European goods via Ukraine and over lack of conformity in the sphere of technical regulation.
"We have repeatedly offered various options to solve this problem," he said. "Russia had offered four editions of legally binding documents, but we had never suggested any amendments to the basic agreement between Ukraine and the European Union. We had suggested additional agreements be signed to settle the problems of concern for Russia."
However, according to Shuvalov, there had been no positive response to these initiatives. On the contrary, Ukraine and the European Union came out with ideas that "as a matter of fact crossed out all our proposals." "No one had lent an ear to our concerns over technical regulation, sanitary and phytosanitary control and lowered customs taxes," he said.
At the same time, the Russian first deputy prime minister stressed that Russia was ready to continue talks with Kiev and Brussels in a bid to remove its concerns over Ukraine’s association agreement with the European Union. However, Russia is forced to cancel all privileges Ukraine has been enjoying within the free trade zone with Russia from January 1, 2016.
On December 21, another round of ministerial talks involving Russia, Ukraine and the European Union ended in Brussels. The key subject for discussion was Russia’s concerns over Ukraine’s and the European Union’s plans to begin the implementation of the association agreement’s trade-and-economic provisions from January 1, 2016.
The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement earlier on Tuesday that neither of Russia’s 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 ministry said. "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."