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Azarov: decision to postpone an association deal with EU not spontaneous

January 27, 2014, 16:16 UTC+3 KIEV
Decision had been made soon after it turned clear that all talks with European and other partners would remain talks - Ukrainian PM
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Ukraine's Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov

Ukraine's Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov

© EPA/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

KIEV, January 27. /ITAR-TASS/. The Ukrainian government’s decision to postpone an association deal with the European Union was not spontaneous, Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov said in an interview with the Segodnya, a Russian language daily based in Kiev, on Monday.

This decision had been made soon after it turned clear that all talks with European and other partners would remain talks, he said.

“For instance, we could not start raising utility tariffs for people two-fold. Now it is clear that reduction of Russia’s gas supply price and Russia’s loan helped us to avoid such a painful decision for our economy and what is most important painful for our people,” Azarov said.

“This is not populism and not demagogy. These are economic calculations. If every Ukrainian family starts paying two times more for utility tariffs, this means it will not spend this very sum on the market for food products, mainly those made in Ukraine,” he said.

Such a road would lead to the economic slump, which hit Greece, where the government started from cutting wages by 25%, Azarov said.

“Now they admit themselves that stability is being reached through catastrophic losses in the socio-economic sphere. But this became clear to us from the very beginning,” he added.

On November 21, 2013, the Ukrainian cabinet decided to suspend preparation for signing an association agreement with the EU, what caused nationwide protests.

Economic cooperation with Russia

Ukraine is about to sign several major contracts with Russia to implement projects in shipbuilding, aviation and other industries, Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolay Azarov told the Segodnya newspaper on Monday.

“Now we can tell people for sure that in taking a break [in plans for European Union integration], we have a chance to resolve, first of all, trade and economic problems in relations with Russia, which is extremely important for us,” he said.

“We have a number of very big contracts to be signed soon on implementation of joint cooperation projects in shipbuilding, aviation and a whole range of other industries,” the premier added.

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