Putin and Yanukovych insist on negotiations with the participation of three parties: Ukraine, the EU and Russia

The leaders of Ukraine and Russia insist on necessity of negotiations in the format Ukraine - Russia - the EU.

According to the head of the Russian state Vladimir Putin, it is necessary to depoliticize the issue of signing the agreement with the European Union by Kiev. At the same time Putin has stated at the press conference that Russia worked and will work with Ukraine "further regardless of its decision on the association with the EU".

"But the choice, whether or not to remain in the free trade zone - this is the choice of Ukraine, and we will respect her decision," stressed the Russian president.

Political analysts believe that Russia continues to guard its interests and is trying to protect Ukraine from hasty decisions, which can harm both states.

Putin has recalled that Ukraine and Russia signed the treaty on the free trade zone, which zeroed out the tariff rates for a variety of goods. And if one party enters into a similar agreement with a third party, then the second one is entitled to withdrawing from the treaty or canceling zeroing of the rates.

"If Ukraine concludes the agreement with the EU, it is obliged to zero out 85 percent of the tariff rates two months after its ratification. This means that the European goods transiting through Ukraine will be coming to the Russian market under the pretext of the European or even Ukrainian goods," reminded Putin, "And we are not ready to swing the gate open before the European goods like that. Should we suffocate whole branches of industries?"

The President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych also believes that the best option of settling the contentious issues around the association agreement with the EU is negotiations with the participation of the three parties. Yanukovych believes that these negotiations should be held prior to signing of the agreement with the EU.

According to Yanukovych, one of the reasons for the existing situation is the drop in goods turnover with Russia and the CIS countries. "And that means that we are losing the volume of the economy, we're losing budget revenues today. And we need to recover them, we need to make the economy work effectively," quotes Yanukovych his press-service.

Yanukovych has also noted that in the bilateral relations with the Russian Federation there are many "white spots and we need to unlock this now" and added that there is a need to update the treaty on strategic partnership with the Russian Federation.

As previously reported, on November 21 the Government of Ukraine adopted a decree, according to which the preparation to concluding the agreement on the association with the EU would be suspended in connection with the need for development of economic relations with the Russian Federation and the CIS.

On November 26 the Ukrainian Premier Nikolay Azarov said that Russia advised Ukraine to postpone the signing of the agreement with the European Union and to negotiate on the improvement of the Russian-Ukrainian trade links. These negotiations, he said, would be held in December.

The EU has stated that it is willing to negotiate on the European integration of Ukraine only in the bilateral format.

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