News / Europe

Putin Warns Ukraine Over Europe Ambitions

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting with 'Valdai' International Discussion Club members in the town of Valdai, Sept. 19, 2013.
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting with 'Valdai' International Discussion Club members in the town of Valdai, Sept. 19, 2013.
Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Ukraine on Thursday he would retaliate with protectionist measures if it signed a landmark trade deal with the European Union and suggested Kyiv enter instead into Russian-led customs union.

A day after Ukraine gave the go-ahead to sign agreements with the EU at a November summit in Lithuania, Putin made clear Moscow would hit back if its market were flooded by competitive goods from the EU because of Kyiv removing import duties.

“We would somehow have to stand by our market, introduce  protectionist measures. We are saying this openly in advance,” Putin told a gathering of Russia experts and journalists.

He gave no details but said, “We will need to consider how many goods access our market and what protective measures we will have to take.”

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev also criticized the former Soviet republic's “crafty” decision to chart a course away from its traditional close economic relationship with Russia, which is still Kyiv's biggest single trading partner.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said on Wednesday that the planned agreements with the EU raised the prospect of “a European quality of life” for his former Soviet republic, squeezed between Russia and the EU.

But Azarov said nothing about the imprisonment of his predecessor, Yulia Tymoshenko, whose release European envoys have been trying to secure in the run-up to the meeting in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius.

The 28-member EU has condemned her trial for abuse-of-office and seven-year jail sentence as politically motivated, and her continued confinement threatens prospects of signing agreements that include the one on free trade.

Russia's pressure has injected new tension into Moscow's relationship with Ukraine, which has pleaded unsuccessfully for cheaper Russian gas to help its hard-pressed economy.

Azarov on Wednesday spelled out the trade advantages for Ukraine, whose economy is dominated by exports such as steel, chemicals and agricultural produce. He promised there would be softer duties on Ukrainian exports almost immediately.

But Putin said Ukraine had more to gain from joining the Customs Union grouping Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, saying they could join forces to press the EU for better trade conditions.

“What is the advantage of Ukraine signing the EU association agreement and opening up its markets? Yes, this will make its economy more liberal. But will the Ukrainian economy itself be able to cope with this liberalism? I don't know,” he said.

The pressure from Moscow forms part of a broader drive by Russia to deter former Soviet allies from edging out of its orbit and moving their economy and future trade towards the EU.

But Ukraine, a vast country with a population of 45 million and psychologically tied most closely to Russia by history and shared culture, is the sorest point of contention.

You May Like

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbasi
X
Scott Stearns
August 21, 2014 9:20 PM
The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid