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Ukrainian Choice movement’s head: Ukraine’s quitting CIS will case catastrophe

May 31, 2014, 15:00 UTC+3 KIEV

Ukraine will lose all benefits and preferences, which it has enjoyed in the CIS free trade zone, he added

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KIEV, May 31 /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine’s quitting the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) will result in outflow of Russian investments thus causing financial and economic catastrophes for Ukraine, leader of Ukrainian Choice movement Viktor Medvedchuk said on Saturday.

“It would also mean a breach of the historic cooperative relations between Ukrainian enterprises and the FSU countries, stopping of joint business projects, termination of diplomatic and economic agreements in the framework of the CIS,” he said. Besides, introduction of visa regimes by CIS countries will affect millions of Ukrainian labour migrants. “The Russian migration service reports that about three million Ukrainians worked in Russia in 2013. If at least every second of those will have to return home, the unemployment level in the country will jump up.”

Ukraine will lose all benefits and preferences, which it has enjoyed in the CIS free trade zone, he added.

“The machine building, chemical and food industries and agriculture will lose for good the big and promising markets, and first of all the Russian market,” Medvedchuk said. “That would affect the economic crisis, the budget’s losses will grow and the GDP will slump down.”

“By raising the topic of quitting the Commonwealth, Ukrainian politicians demonstrate a lack of strategic thinking. I want to hope that the newly elected president (Petr Poroshenko) will be acting in the interests of the country and will consider economic efficiency, not the political situations.”

Several days earlier, Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister, Daniil Lybkivsky, confirmed Ukraine was beginning the procedure of quitting the CIS. “On May 26, we discussed beginning of quitting the CIS,” he said then.

The deputy foreign minister stressed the procedure would be rather complicated and time-consuming. “Ukraine will be able to quit the CIS not earlier than a year after the process begins,” he said.

On March 19, Ukraine announced a decision, where it was not planning to continue playing a chairing role in the Commonwealth, and the country’s Security Council issued an order to begin the procedure of quitting the organisation.

The CIS was founded on December 8, 1991 by the Republic of Belarus, the Russian Federation, and Ukraine, when the leaders of the three countries met in the Belovezhskaya Pushcha Natural Reserve, about 50 kilometres north of Brest in Belarus and signed a Creation Agreement on dissolution of the Soviet Union and creation of CIS as a successor entity to it. At the same time they announced that the new alliance would be open to all republics of the former Soviet Union, and to other nations sharing the same goals. The CIS charter stated that all the members were sovereign and independent nations and thereby effectively abolished the Soviet Union.

On December 21, 1991, leaders of eight additional former Soviet Republics - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan - signed the Alma-Ata Protocol and joined the CIS, thus bringing the number of participating countries to 11. Georgia joined two years later, in December 1993. At that point, 12 former Soviet Republics (all except the Baltic States) participated in the CIS.

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