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MOSCOW, December 18. /ITAR-TASS/. The results of the meeting between the Presidents of Russia and Ukraine, Vladimir Putin and Viktor Yanukovich, have shown “where Ukraine has friends — in the West or in the East,” Mikhail Margelov, Chairman of the Committee on International Affairs of the Federation Council (FC) upper house of the Russian parliament, told journalists in comment on the results of the talks held.
Margelov drew attention to the fact that “Russia purchases $15 billion worth of Ukraine's securities —with the money being taken, incidentally, from the National Welfare Fund, — and also lowers by 50% the price of natural gas being supplied to Ukraine”. The latter point is of exceptional importance, the senator said, since “Ukraine's industry will get revitalized on cheaper gas”.
At the same time, the IMF, Margelov pointed out, “is prepared to lend a scanty credit to Ukraine in the manner of Koshchei the Immortal (a folklore bony and wicked character) on such terms as if the country is insolvent and, as is customary with the IMF, it presses for a steep fall of living standards of the Ukrainians”. “Russia, however, does not set any conditions to Ukraine for the current assistance,” the FC committee chief stressed.
The senator's opinion is that “it is too early to judge whether Ukraine will abandon association with the European Union or not”. However, Margelov believes, the contents of the accords signed in Moscow indicate that in the Customs Union, “the door is open for Ukraine”. “Simply, unlike Brussels-based bureaucracy, which keeps speaking incessantly of an open door to association with the EU, the Customs Union will accept Ukraine without much words,” he said confidently.