Ukraine Resists Integration Into Union

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine on Friday resisted integration into an economic union of four major ex-Soviet republics dominated by Russia, refusing to sign up for anything beyond a free trade zone.

"Ukraine is not prepared to talk about a union," Ukraine's Economics Minister Serhiy Teryokhin said after the end of high-level talks between Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan in the Ukrainian capital.

Teryokhin said that a planned meeting at the presidential level in July "will make clear the positions and future development of that project."

Ukraine's new pro-Western government has been hesitant to pursue the Moscow-led project, dubbed the Common Economic Space, amid fears that it would hurt its chances of someday joining the European Union.

Instead, Ukraine, which is seeking to throw off the influence of its giant neighbor Russia, is pushing hard for a free trade zone.

Source: AP