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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid