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Victor Yanukovich postpones his visit to Russia

December 19, 2012, 11:26 UTC+3

According to experts, the postponement of the visit of Yanukovich suggests that there are major differences between the two countries

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Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich’s visit to Moscow, scheduled for Tuesday, has been postponed indefinitely. According to some sources, it was done at the initiative of the Russian side as soon as it became known that the President of Ukraine is not going to sign important for Moscow documents. According to experts, the postponement of the visit of Yanukovich suggests that there are major differences between the two countries.

Something similar has already occurred only once in the Russian-Ukrainian relations - in 2007, when Viktor Yushchenko, the irritation about the policy of whom the Kremlin even did not hide, was the country's President, writes the Kommersant daily. Cancellation of Yanukovich's visit suggests that significant differences have emerged between Kiev and Moscow - and neither side is going to make concessions so far, according to the newspaper.

The newspaper has learnt that the visit of Viktor Yanukovich to Moscow was being prepared very carefully: the Foreign Ministries of the two countries were factually barred from the organisation of the negotiations - the presidential administrations took charge of everything. According to the newspaper’s sources in Moscow and Kiev that are familiar with the preparation of the visit, on the negotiations’ results it had been planned to sign an agreement, envisaging Russian gas price reductions for Ukraine in exchange for the “integration steps” to be taken by Kiev. According to the daily's sources, Moscow insisted on the signing of a legally binding agreement on the launch of the process of Ukraine’s accession to the Customs Union, but Kiev preferred a declarative memorandum.

According to the RBC Daily, Moscow cannot reach a final compromise with Kiev, which also intends to establish a free trade zone with the European Union. Both sides explained the unexpected cancellation of the visit by the need to finalise the documents. “They must be signed in a package: the sides have agreed on some of them, and on some the process has slowed down,” Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov explained. He could not clearly specify until when the visit has been postponed. “It is necessary to conduct additional expert work to complete all the documents which we had initially planned to sign.” “For this we need a certain amount of time, after which we will agree a new date for his visit,” he said.

According to the newspaper’s source familiar with the negotiations, Russia is not ready to accept some of the compromise proposals of Kiev.

Director of the Situations Modelling Agency Vitaly Bala, who was quoted by the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily, said that the cancellation of the visit on the day it had been scheduled and even for the reason that has been named – it’s the evidence of the crisis in the relations between the two states. In his opinion, Yanukovich would not risk presenting a demarche to Putin, and thus the negotiations were postponed on the initiative of the Russian side. He recalled that Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov said clearly in recent days that the Ukrainian President was expected in Moscow only if he agrees to sign some documents. “Probably the proposals with which the Ukrainian President was going to come to the negotiations did not satisfy the Russian side. Or the demands that were put forward by Moscow were unacceptable for Kiev. In any case, it has turned out that there is nothing to sign,” the expert suggested.



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