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Ukraine’s opposition welcomes Russia’s decision to lift ban on transit of Ukrainian goods

The chairman of the political council of the Ukrainian party Opposition Platform - For Life stressed the economic importance of the decree

KIEV, June 25. /TASS/. The decision of President Vladimir Putin to lift a ban on the transit of Ukrainian goods through Russia is a sign of Moscow’s willingness to follow the path of bilateral economic relations, Viktor Medvedchuk, Chairman of the political council of the Ukrainian party Opposition Platform - For Life, said on Tuesday.

"Russian President Vladimir Putin has made changes to the provisions of the decree on counter-sanctions dated August 6, 2014 and October 22, 2018. In particular, the document allows the transit sanctioned goods from Ukraine through Russia. This decision of the Russian leadership indicates readiness to go along the path of establishing interstate economic relations between Ukraine and Russia," Medvedchuk said as quoted by his party’s press service.

He stressed the economic importance of the decree saying that the resumption of transit will intensify international road and rail transportation from Ukraine and development of freight traffic to third countries.

Medvedchuk noted that the leader of his party Yuri Boyko and he discussed the removal of the restrictions at a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Gazprom Chairman of the Board Alexei Miller on March 22 in Moscow.

"Besides the reduction of gas prices and creating a gas transportation consortium, we also discussed aspects of restoring mutually beneficial economic relations - in particular transit of Ukrainian goods through the territory of Russia," Medvedchuk said.

He stressed that the direct negotiations between Kiev and Moscow, "which are supported, according to the results of sociological research, by 75% of Ukrainians," will make it possible to settle other important issues in relations between the two countries and protect the national interests of Ukraine.

On June 24, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree extending specific economic measures against countries that imposed sanctions against Russia until December 31, 2020. Putin also signed an additional document, which changes the norms of the original decree on counter-sanctions dated August 6, 2014.

In particular, the new document allows for the transit shipments of sanctioned goods through Russia on condition that these goods are "subject to ensuring their traceability by using a control system based on GLONASS technology".

The decree now also envisages permission for the import of sanctioned goods by individuals for personal use. Similar amendments were to the decree of October 22, 2018 on counter-sanctions against Ukraine.

Sanctions and counter measures

In March 2014, the European Union and a number of countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, Switzerland, New Zealand, Iceland and others, began to impose sanctions against Russia over the situation in Ukraine. In particular, the sanctions lists of Russian individuals and legal entities were made. Restrictive measures included a ban on entry, freezing of accounts. Also, so-called sectoral sanctions were introduced: the assets of the companies that came under such sanctions were not frozen, but restrictions were imposed on medium-and long-term lending.

In response, on August 6, 2014, Russian President signed a decree "On imposing separate special economic measures ensuring security for the Russian Federation." The government imposed restrictions on imports of certain goods from the US, the European Union, Norway, Australia and Canada based on the document the following day. Later the list of countries was expanded, and the list of goods was revised.

After the EU countries extended sanctions against Russia on June 22, 2015, on June 24, Putin extended Russia’s countermeasures by another decree for another year. Subsequently, the counter sanctions were extended twice. The last time the restrictions were prolonged on July 12, 2018 until the end of 2019.