Ukrainian deputy Andrei Artyomenko, the deputy head of the Rada (parliament) Committee for European Integration, has described Ukraine’s association with the European Union as a failed project and has called for the soonest restoration of relations with Russia and other CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries.
“I will use a Russian word to characterize the 600-page (Ukraine-EU) Association Treaty. It is a profanation. All countries, which used to be part of the Soviet Union, should be our closest trading partners. We will not have to invent anything with them because ‘the wheel has already been reinvented’. They know exactly what we produce and understand what they should do with our products,” the Golos (Voice) publication quoted Artyomenko as saying.
Artyomenko, who is a Rada deputy from Ukraine’s Radical Party, believes that the European integration policy has spoiled Ukraine’s image. “That is why it is high time to stop looking exclusively in the Western direction,” he stressed.
“Blind orientation at Western countries has already forced Ukraine to fall into economic and social decay,” Artyomenko said noting that the association agreement with the European Union would continue destroying and killing local Ukrainian producers.
A free trade regime with the European Union took effect in Ukraine as of January 1, 2016. The new circumstances forced Russia to take measures to neutralize the risks arising for its economy and suspended its treaty on the free trade zone with Ukraine. Russia banned the import of agricultural goods, raw materials and food from Ukraine as of January 1, 2016. Ukraine, in turn, banned the imports of 43 items from Russia as of January 10, 2016. According to Ukraine’s State Statistics Service, the export of goods to Russia dropped by 38.3% in 2016.
At the same time, Ukraine’s Trade Representative Natalya Mikolskaya has said that Ukraine’s exports to the European Union have been unsatisfactory. The growth (in exports) on which Kiev had counted so much did not happen. Ukraine’s exports to EU shrunk by 11.5 % in the first 5 months of 2016.
Early in September, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko said that the loss of the Russian market was a heavy shock for Ukraine while the damage caused to the state was around $15 billion according to various estimates.