DEAUVILLE. June 6 (Interfax) - Russian President Vladimir Putin reaffirmed that Russia's position regarding Ukraine's plans to sign an association agreement with the European Union remains unchanged.
Talking to journalists in France on Friday, Putin said he had had detailed conversations on the matter with the British prime minister, the French president, the German chancellor, and "with Mr. Poroshenko as well."
"We talked about this because the signature of a well-known association agreement between Ukraine and the EU is planned. I warned that we would have to take measures to protect our economy if the agreement is signed and takes effect," Putin told journalists in Deauville on Friday.
"We would have to switch not to some sanctions, I'd like to stress this, but switch to usual international practices of using the most favored nation regime in trade," he said.
"This would be a hard test for Ukraine," he said.
Russia and Ukraine currently have "zero customs tariff rates within the CIS free trade area," he said.
"The planned agreement [the association agreement between Ukraine and the EU] does not allow Ukraine's membership of other agreements. But the matter is not even about this but about the fact that, if we leave the zero rates and Ukraine opens its market to European goods, then all European goods would go to our customs territory," he said.
"We can't allow this, we haven't agreed about this with Europe," he said.
Putin doubted that Ukraine would benefit from this situation, because "its goods are unlikely to be competitive even on the Russian market," he said.
"I think the Ukrainian leadership understands this," he said.
(Our editorial staff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Agreement with Abkhazia stalemates Russia's normalization with Georgia - president Margvelashvili
Arctic strategic command classed as military district - Maritime collegium (Part 2)