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Duma to urge European Parliament not to undermine Russia-Ukraine bilateral relations

September 20, 2013, 4:01 UTC+3

The State Duma also states that Russia respects any choice that its neighbours may make, and is willing to develop relations with them further

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Photo ITAR-TASS / Stanislav Krasilnikov

Photo ITAR-TASS / Stanislav Krasilnikov

MOSCOW, September 20 (Itar-Tass) - The State Duma lower house of Russia’s parliament intends to adopt a statement in response to the European Parliament’s resolution, accusing Russia of putting pressure on Ukraine in connection with its European aspirations.

The MPs refer to the resolution of 12 September 2013, in which the “European Parliament wrongly accused Russia of putting pressure on a number of states that participate in the European Union’s Eastern Partnership programme, in particular, on Ukraine in connection with the plans of these countries to join the European free trade area by concluding association agreements with the European Union.”

The Russian lawmakers believe that “the desire to undermine the relations of the peoples living in Russia and Ukraine, as well as in other post-Soviet countries, and to include these states in the EU exclusive zone of interests” is behind the resolution of the European Parliament. “We absolutely cannot agree with this approach, which savours of neo-imperial ambitions,” the draft declaration emphasises.

The Duma also drew attention to the fact that European Parliament’s resolutions cannot have for Russia any legal or political force, because neither Russia nor Ukraine falls within its jurisdiction. “The European Parliament tends to forget this, which is wrong,” the MPs note.

Russia, according to the document, does not give advice to colleagues in Brussels how to build relationships within the European Union and with its potential partners. “Therefore, the State Duma proceeds on the basis that the Russian Federation independently determines how to build relations with its closest neighbours, the fraternal for us peoples, united by a common aspiration for rapprochement and free development without external pressure on the basis of respect for sovereignty and national interests of each other,” the lawmakers state.

According to the State Duma, it is the European Union that is trying to apply pressure tools to the countries of Eastern Europe. “It has become more and more obvious recently that it is the European politicians who by direct political pressure and outright arm-twisting, including in matters of internal policy of Ukraine, are forcing Kiev officials to sacrifice a part of Ukraine’s sovereignty and actually move its trade and economic relations under the control of Brussels,” the statement says. The lawmakers explain that “the draft association agreement with the European Union provides for a radical change in the entire system of trade and economic regulation of Ukraine, the transfer of sovereign powers in the sphere of customs and trade policies, the sanitary, veterinary and phytosanitary measures, technical regulations.”

“The peoples of Russia and Ukraine, as well as the other states mentioned in the resolution of the European Parliament, have a long history of close ties and relations both at the international level and at the level of human lives, blended families, common culture, common humanitarian, scientific and educational space. The striving of the Customs Union member states, which brings together more than 160 million consumers, for the use and expansion of the potential accumulated in the years of being in a single state, as well as the desire for closer integration with neighbouring countries is natural and logical,” the document says.

That is why the State Duma deputies have expressed legitimate concern because of the potential losses for Russia’s relations with these countries, which the course towards association with the European Union carries, and more specifically, to the actual submission of their economic policies. “In the case of such an ‘association,’ Ukraine and other states participating in the European Union’s Eastern Partnership programme will inevitably lose part of their independence. It will be much more difficult for them build a fruitful economic partnership with Russia and other countries - members of the Customs Union, as well as to participate in the future in the Eurasian integration process,” Duma members warn.

The quite natural under these circumstances efforts of the Russian authorities, scientists, entrepreneurs, public figures, aimed at putting these concerns across to their partners in Ukraine, are treated with bias by the European Parliament members, “who already regard these states as a future sphere of influence of the European Union,” the MPs state with indignation.

The State Duma also states that Russia respects any choice that its neighbours may make, and is willing to develop relations with them further.

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