Russia-Ukraine: The Moment Of Truth

MOSCOW, Russia -- Ukraine will hardly manage to keep a foot in both worlds, Russian experts say about the forthcoming visit of Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovich.


His initiative on cooperation with the Customs Union (Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan) may appeal to either Russia or the EU which means that the September 24 talks with Dmitry Medvedev (and maybe Vladimir Putin) will be tense.

Ukraine’s entry to the Customs Union is the main intrigue of the meeting as this step can solve all gas problems in one go, Russian political analyst Yakov Mirkin told the VoR

"The Union is primarily a free-trade area but on the other hand it creates an economic wall between Ukraine and the EU but breaks it between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Ukraine is in constant talks with the EU about free-trade zone so it will hardly get both and enjoy special conditions from Russia."

Another analyst, Kirill Frolov, believes that Ukraine will gain more from rapprochement with Russia:

"If Ukraine enters the CU, solves the issues of the Russian language and the Orthodox Church in the country it’ll get special gas prices and save its economy. I hope that Yanukovich will make the right choice."

It’s high time to make one as the Union countries will shut customs borders down in early 2012, believes Russian economist Andrey Suzdalcev.

Political expert Evgeny Minchenko also thinks that Kiev is the first to benefit from joining the Union.

"It will be hard but possible for Ukraine to combine both CU and WTO memberships: it just needs several procedures and then may gain access to the vast market of the Union."

Alexander Segal, expert in politics, states that both Russia and Ukraine need to restore industrial ties and support bilateral projects:

"Entering the Union gives some chances to restore ties broken after the Soviet Union collapse and they used to be deep indeed. The current crisis of air industry was triggered by the split of the common industry of Russia and Ukraine."

It’s hard for Ukraine to choose between the West and the East as it is geopolitically located between large economies of the EU and Russia who have their issue, which affect Kiev’s policy says Yakov Mirkin

"Ukraine will solve its problems when the EU and Russia come to an agreement but it’s a far prospective."

All experts told the VoR that Ukraine will definitely gain from entering the Union that provides for new opportunities for development, collective achievements, partnership, developed common market and century-old ties.

Source: The Voice of Russia

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