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Azarov: Ukraine’s policy to European integration remains unchanged

December 30, 2013, 16:37 UTC+3 KIEV
Ukraine continues to develop good-neighborly, mutually advantageous relations with the CIS countries and with the EU by defending its national interests, the premier said
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© ITAR-TASS/Maria Frolova

KIEV, December 30. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine’s policy to European integration remains unchanged, Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov said on Monday.

“We’ve gotten reliable mechanisms to stabilize the financial and economic situation in the state, to continue the country’s modernization and, finally, to create a free trade zone with the European Union,” Azarov said.

Ukraine continues to develop good-neighborly, mutually advantageous relations with the CIS countries and with the EU by defending its national interests, the premier said.

The events of latest months proved how peace and national accord are important for every citizen in any region. “Irresponsible politicians, who have their own ambitions, are ready to ignore them and don’t take care of the country’s integrity and citizens’ prosperity,” he said.

He said the gas agreements with Russia and the resumption of trade, economic and industrial cooperation would open new possibilities to develop the state’s economy and increase social standards.

On November 21, the Ukrainian government suspended preparations for signing the Association Agreement with the European Union. This happened a week before the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius where the parties were planning to sign the document.

Russian politicians criticized Ukraine’s intention to sign the agreement with the EU. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev did not rule out the protective economic measures had been introduced if Ukraine signed the deal. Russia and Ukraine have a free trade zone agreement, which operates. If Ukraine opens the borders for the EU, it can be turned into a transit territory for European goods due to be sent to the Russian market.

After the signing of the agreement was suspended, supporters of Ukraine’s European integration took to the streets for protest actions, which lasted for about three weeks. On December 17, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich succeeded in agreeing with Russia to provide aid to the country’s economy. Russia will invest $15 billion from the National Welfare Fund in Ukrainian securities. As of December 1, 2013, the National Welfare Fund has amounted to 2.922 trillion rubles (about $89.8 billion). In addition, Ukraine will receive a discount for gas and will pay $268.5 for 1,000 cubic meters.

On December 20, Azarov said after the agreement was reached with Russia there was no need to ask the IMF (International Monetary Fund) to provide a loan. “We’re ready to hold talks with the IMF,” he said.

“We’re forced to agree with the IMF conditions,” Azarov said, adding that Kiev was forced to accept the IMF conditions if there was not Russia’s loan.

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