Russia Threatens Ukraine With Import Tariffs if it Signs EU Association Deal

Alexei Ulyukayev

Russia will introduce import tariffs on Ukrainian goods as of Nov. 1 if Kiev proceeds with a trade pact with the European Union, local news agencies cited Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev as saying Friday.

Ukraine is set to ratify a wide-ranging free trade pact with the 28-nation EU that Russia fears will be harmful to its economy.

"If our partners do not listen to us, [and] consider our arguments unconvincing, then we will take adequate protective measures," news agency RIA Novosti cited Ulyukayev as saying in Brussels.

In August, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Russian economy could suffer a loss of some 100 billion rubles ($2.6 billion) if European goods reach the Russian market via Ukraine as a result of the Kiev-EU deal.

Timothy Ash, head of emerging market research at Standard Bank, said it was possible steps would be taken to prevent Moscow taking punitive trade action.

"There is still talk of some form of transitional measures which would limit potential opportunity for Russian 'retaliation' and cut the Ukrainians as much slack as possible," he said in a note.

A tug of war between the EU and Russia over Ukraine has contributed to a crisis in the former Soviet republic, which has been battling a pro-Russia separatist insurgency since mid-April.

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