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Russia does not press CIS states into integration, Duma speaker says

October 01, 2013, 16:21 UTC+3
"No matter what agreement Ukraine signs, where it goes, we, the Russian people, will still be concerned about that country," Naryshkin stated in PACE
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STRASBOURG, October 1 (Itar-Tass) - Russia is putting no pressure on countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States in integration issues, State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin said in reply to queries by Council of Europe parliamentarians on Tuesday.

The speaker of the lower house said “Russia has a big amount of political, economic, humanitarian and military-technical cooperation with the CIS countries, including with Ukraine”. And interest in expanding common economic space is quite natural, he noted.

“But all CIS states are sovereign. And it is only up to their authorities and peoples to make the decision on what to sign and what to join,” Naryshkin stressed.

He made a reservation that Russia had the right, which it exercised, to offer its partners comparative information on benefits of entry into the Customs Union, the Common Economic Space and consequences from the EU integration.

“But I repeat that the choice rests with the sovereign states,” the Russian speaker said. “No matter what agreement Ukraine signs, where it goes, we, the Russian people, will still be concerned about that country as we are coreligionists and soul sisters and brothers,” Naryshkin said.

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