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Ukraine PM to attend Moscow-led Customs Union meet
December 24, 2013, 5:48 am

Russia last week granted a $15 billion loan to Ukraine aimed at bailing out Kiev from a staggering economic and political crisis [Getty Images]

Russia last week granted a $15 billion loan to Ukraine aimed at bailing out Kiev from a staggering economic and political crisis [Getty Images]

Russia has said Ukraine’s Prime Minister will visit Russia on Tuesday to attend the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council meet.

“The presidents of Armenia and Kyrgyzstan – countries that applied for admission to the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space – have been invited to attend,” Putin aide Yuri Ushakov said Monday.

“Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov will also be present as an observer,” he said.

Ukraine is currently an observer in the Moscow-led Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Both Russian and Ukrainian officials in recent times have stressed that the prospect of Ukraine joining the Customs Union has not yet been discussed.

Putin aide Ushakov said Monday that work to establish the Eurasian Economic Union by January 1, 2015 would be discussed at Tuesday’s meeting.

Documents on a common customs policy, regulation of natural monopolies’ activities and competition rules would be signed after the meeting.

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov announced on Monday that Moscow and Kiev have inked a deal to buy Ukraine’s newly-issued $3 billion Eurobond, part of the $15 billion bailout announced earlier last week.

“The deal was closed on Friday,” Siluanov said on Monday.

The Ukrainian government owes around $8 billion in foreign debt payments in 2014. The cost of insuring Ukraine’s debt is only exceeded by Venezuela and Argentina, according to Bloomberg.

Russia last week granted a $15 billion loan to Ukraine aimed at bailing out Kiev from a staggering economic and political crisis. Russia will also sell gas to Ukraine’s Naftogaz energy company for $268.5 per 1,000 cubic meters, well below the current level of more than $400.

“If we really say that [the Ukrainian people] are a brother people, and a brother country, then we are obliged to conduct ourselves as a close relative and help the Ukrainian people in this difficult situation,” said Putin after announcing the bailout.

Ukraine’s government stepped back from an integration pact with the EU last month and announced instead that it would seek closer links with the Moscow-led Customs Union.

Kiev has left open the possibility of an agreement with the EU at a later date.

 

TBP and Agencies

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