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Russia plays important role in Ukraine crisis resolution — Finnish premier

September 02, 2014, 17:13 UTC+3 HELSINKI
“But the EU-Ukraine relations do not rule out Kievs’ continued relations with Russia,” he says
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© EPA/NICOLAS BOUVY

HELSINKI, September 02. /ITAR-TASS/. Relations between Ukraine and the EU do not rule out Kiev’s continued relations with Russia, Finnish Prime Minister Alexandar Stubb said on Tuesday.

“We expect Ukraine to ratify the association agreement till the end of September. But the EU-Ukraine relations do not rule out Kievs’ continued relations with Russia,” he said.

“Russia plays an important role in the resolution of the Ukraine crisis,” he said, adding “Ukraine also faces political and economic challenges. Parliamentary elections set for October are one of them”.

 Finnish Prime Alexander Stubb said on Tuesday he was satisfied that the EU sanctions on Russia in response to the latest events in Ukraine did not affect border cooperation with Russia.

“I’m pleased that our work inside the EU was successful. Important border cooperation [with Russia] will be continued,” he said.

“As a member of the EU, Finland was actively influencing preparations for the EU decision on sanctions. We did much to minimise their effects,” Stubb said.

According to Finnish economists, the Russian imports ban has a limited effect on Finland’s economy, he said.

In response to Western sanctions, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on August 6 to ban for one year the imports of agricultural, raw and food products from the countries, which imposed sanctions against Russia.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced on August 7 that the Russian government imposed a one-year ban on imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from Australia, Canada, the European Union, the United States and Norway.

In the meantime, Stubb said Finland should maintain a dialogue with Russia even in hard times.

“The crisis will end one day. Russia will remain Finland’s neighbour that’s why we should maintain a dialogue with Russia just when the situation is not easy,” he said.

“Both countries maintain most of the contacts in tourism, trade and business. They develop normally,” Stubb said.

“Political relations at the high level are not the only dimension. Nobody wants Russia to interrupt relations with the EU,” he said.

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