Ukraine Open to Talks With EU If Russia Included – Premier

Ukraine Open to Talks With EU If Russia Included – Premier
# 28 December 2013 01:40 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said Friday that Kiev might yet sign a trade agreement with the European Union, but the deal would have to involve trilateral talks with Russia, APA reports quoting RIA Novosti.

The decision of whether to go ahead with any negotiation is now up to the European Commission, Azarov said in a televised interview on Ukraine’s state-run First National channel, as Russia has already agreed to participate in potential talks.

Along with the trilateral negotiation format, Azarov said Ukraine would require a promise of compensation for potential economic damages caused by aligning with the EU, a sum he estimated at 10 billion euros ($14 billion).

The issue of Ukraine’s multi-billion-dollar national debt with no immediate financial gain was among the problems widely discussed as a reason for Kiev’s sudden abandonment of a long-expected trade and political deal with the EU in late November.

Kiev chose instead to strengthen ties with Russia, striking a $15 billion bailout package with Russian President Vladimir Putin to stabilize Ukraine’s finances.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that, according to the terms of the deal, the loan is to be repaid regardless of who is in power in Kiev.

“Technically, we are entitled to use all possible means to get the money back. This loan is backed by their national wealth,” the Russian premier said.

Street protests sparked by the U-turn soon exploded into a broad opposition movement calling for the resignation of the government in a political crisis that is still ongoing in Ukraine.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkyavichus told RIA Novosti earlier in December that although the draft of the EU agreement did contain some monetary agreements, the deal did not discuss the issue of compensation to Ukraine for EU entry.