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Ukraine seeks integration with Russia and EU

11-29-2013 01:40 BJT

By CCTV correspondent Wang Ying

The Ukrainian president is in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius on Thursday and Friday to take part in the EU's Eastern Partnership summit. He's not there to sign an agreement, as originally planned, but to try to convince the EU to join trilateral talks with Ukraine and Russia.

Roshen is Ukraine’s biggest candymaker. It exports 12 to 15 percent of its products to Russia. But in July, Russian regulators banned all imports from the company's Ukrainian parent company. Hit by the embargo, more than a thousand employees are expected to be laid off by the end of this year.

Roshen is a miniature of Ukraine’s overall economy. The country is heavily dependent on export, but sales to Russia have fallen by 23 percent on the back of this summer’s trade dispute, large budget deficit and state debt.

"Potentially, there is a strong industry there. But if we look at practical terms, I doubt if Ukraine is a big trophy to win. Because this is a country in very big economic crisis. The country will need enormous investment to go out from this miserable situation," said Fyodor Lukyanov, presidium chairman of Russia's Council on Foreign and Defense Policy. 

Ukraine was seeking financial aid from its European lenders, but with little success. Then Kiev turned to Moscow to put its struggling economy back on track. Last week, Ukraine announced it was halting its integration process with the EU and renewing dialogue with Russia. But it stressed that such a move did not alter the country’s strategy of EU integration. Russian expert Lukyanov says that apart from economic reasons, Ukraine also needs to take other factors into consideration.

"Due to internal composition they can’t choose Russia and the EU, they can’t make the final term. Because any decision to take one or another direction will mean very high intension inside, even the breakup of the country," Lukyanov said. "And that’s why Ukraine’s traditional policy since their independence about 20 plus years ago was to keep all the options open, and to maneuver between them."

Ukraine has proposed trilateral talks with Russia and the EU to settle disputes. That was rejected by the EU. Russia says it is willing to join the proposed trilateral talks, and a presidential spokesman said Moscow respected any decision made by Ukraine.

 

Editor:James |Source: CCTV.com

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