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Finnish expert says Ukraine will resume European-wards movement in two years

November 22, 2013, 20:30 UTC+3 HELSINKI

After the elections, regardless of their outcome, Ukraine will resume its movement towards the European Union

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HELSINKI, November 22, 19:43 /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine’s timeout in its European integration will last at least two years, Arkady Moshes, an expert from the Finnish Institute of International Relations, told Itar-Tass on Friday, commenting on the decision of the Ukrainian government to postpone the signing of the Association Agreement with the European Union.

“Ukraine is trying to take a break,” he said. “Russia’s economic pressure, the European Union’s political pressure over the Timoshenko case and the mobilization of the domestic political opposition ahead of the 2015 elections are unbearable for the Ukrainian leaders. The pause will not last one year, it will take at least two years - after the elections, regardless of their outcome, Ukraine will resume its movement towards the European Union.”

He said that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich’s decision was quite understandable but it was not ruled out that this decision might entail more problems, first of all, for the Ukrainian economy, which was facing difficulties. “In the present-day conditions, Russia is unlikely to be able to subsidize, on a systemic and long-term basis, its Ukrainian neighbors, like it does in respect of Belarus, where Russian subsidies account for 20 percent of the GDP. As for Ukraine, the sum of such subsidy might reach 35 billion U.S. dollars, given Ukraine’s GDP is 175 billion U.S. dollars. Russia does not have this money. Apart from that, this measure failed to avoid all possible economic problems even in the case of Belarus.”

At the same time, the expert said he did not think Kiev temporary waiver of decisive steps in relations with the European Union would bring Ukraine closer to Russia. “Russia and Ukraine have been drifting apart for the past twenty years, which is reflected in loosening economic ties, with emerging duplicating production facilities, mutual protectionism, Russia’s bypassing pipelines and Ukraine’s attempts to diversify gas purchases. Apart from that, Ukraine is unlikely to join the Customs Union [of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan] or the Collective Security Treaty Organization,” he said in conclusion.

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