Putin again invites Ukraine to the Customs Union
President Vladimir Putin in his fourteenth annual address to the Federal Assembly again noted that Ukraine was expected as an equal partner in the Customs Union, at least, at the expert level.
"Even before all these events, which we now see in Kiev, and I very much expected that all the political forces of the country in the interests of the people of Ukraine will be able to reach the agreement and to resolve all accumulated problems, but even before all of these problems, starting with May of the current year, Ukraine expressed the desire to and attended all the meetings of the "three" as an observer, participated in the discussions and previously several times expressed its interest in joining the individual agreements of the Customs Union. We are not imposing anything on anyone. But if our friends have the desire to work together, we are ready to continue this work at the expert level," the President of the Russian Federation said.
According to Putin, now begins the crucial stage of preparation of the Agreement on the Eurasian Economic Union, which is expected to be conformed on May 1, 2014. Then it will be available in the parliaments of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan.
"There are already working groups, which are preparing the "road maps" of joining of Kyrgyzstan and Armenia to the Customs Union. I am sure, the real achievements of the Eurasian integration will only increase the interest towards it on the part of our other neighbors, including the Ukrainian partners," Putin noted.
"We will consistently promote the Eurasian process, not contrasting it to the other integration projects, including, of course, such a deliberate integration project as the European. We will be guided by our complementarity and, of course, we will continue to work with our European friends in the preparation of new basic agreement. Our integration project is based on equality, on real economic interests," he added.
At the same time, in his Address the President of the Russian Federation has touched upon the subject of imposing by certain countries their interests on others, and contrasted such a position to the position of the Russian Federation.
"We have always been proud of our country. However, we do not claim the title of the superpower, which is understood as claims for the world or regional hegemony. We do not encroach on anyone’s interests, impose on someone our patronage, or try to teach anyone how to live. But we will strive to be leaders, protecting the international law, achieving the respect for the national sovereignty, independence and identity of peoples. And this is absolutely and objectively understandable for such a state, as the Russian Federation, with its great history and culture, with centuries of experience of not the so-called tolerance, agamic and sterile, but joint, organic existence of different peoples in the framework of a single state," the President of Russia said.
"In recent years we have seen how the attempts to impose on other countries as if more progressive model of development in practice resulted in setbacks, barbarism and high blood. It happened in a number of countries of the Middle East and Northern Africa. Such a dramatic situation arose in Syria as well," he added.