WASHINGTON, February 25. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine has sent no notification that it was changing its observer status in the Customs Union (of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan) after a coup d’état in the country, Russia’s Minister for Economic Development Alexei Ulyukayev told reporters in Washington on Tuesday.
“No, we haven’t received it,” the minister said in reply to a reporter’s query.
On November 21, 2013, the Ukrainian government backtracked on the signing of an association agreement with the European Union, the plan repeatedly criticized by Russian politicians. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev had not ruled out protective economic measures in case the association agreement had gone through. An agreement on a zone of free trade is in place between Russia and Ukraine. In case Ukraine opened its borders for the EU, it could become a transit territory for European products intended for the Russian market.
At the same time, Ukraine was negotiating its possible membership in Customs Union, where it had an observer status before the coup d’état.
After Ukraine announced it was suspending the association agreement with the EU, riots began in the Ukrainian capital and continued about three weeks. On December 17, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych agreed with Russia on aid to the ailing Ukrainian economy. However, in February 2014 riots spiraled out of control in Ukraine resulting in a coup d’état and dealing a further blow to the economic situation in the country. The world community began discussing financial assistance to Ukraine, but the situation is complicated by the fact that the country still has no legitimate government to negotiate with.