Ukraine's economic development minister has said that he expects a "trade war" with Russia to break out after Kiev signs the trade section of an association agreement with the European Union later this week.
"In the short-term, it is obvious that we have to prepare for the scenario of a possible trade war that will see Russia introduce defensive measures and barriers," Minister Pavel Sheremeta said on television Monday, Interfax reported.
He said that Ukraine is ready to discuss any trade problems with Russia, but that Moscow's apprehensions about the signing of the association agreement are mostly exaggerated.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who was elected in late May, said last week that he would sign the trade agreement on Friday in Brussels, the political section having already been signed in March.
Poroshenko replaced Moscow-leaning Viktor Yanukovych, whose decision to step back from signing an EU trade pact in November led to months-long street protests in Kiev and, ultimately, his own removal from power.