By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife
KIEV/BUDAPEST (BosNewsLife)– Russia has denied it is waging a trade war with Ukraine to keep its former Soviet neighbour from establishing closer political and economic ties with the European Union.
Business leaders say restrictions that Moscow slapped on Ukrainian products this week have left scores of trains and trucks queued at the border.
Ukrainian politicians have accused Russia of starting a trade war to pressure the country against signing a cooperation pact with the European Union later this year.
The Ukrainian policy is seen as part of wider efforts to reduce Ukraine’s dependence on Russia’s market end energy.
Yet, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov says he wants to try to end the border chaos caused by the stand-off.
Speaking to reporters Azarov said “there are difficulties” which “are linked to the creation of a Customs Union,” referring to the Moscow-led alliance which Russia wants Ukraine to join.
Last month, Russia even banned chocolate and other confectionery imports from Ukraine, citing safety concerns.
That move came shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin failed to persuade his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovich to rethink his Ukraine’s European policies.
However “As soon as we are persuaded that everything is ok, we will cancel our controls,” claimed Gennady Onishchenko, Russia’s chief public health official.
Analysts have expressed worries that the stand-off could cost Ukrainian companies up to $2.4 billion in losses at a time when the country already faces a deep economic crisis.
Though Ukraine’s and Russia’s presidents have discussed the issue over the phone Friday, tensions continue.
(BosNewsLife’s NEWS WATCH is a regular look at key general news developments from especially, but not limited to, (former) Communist countries and other autocratic states impacting the Church and/or other compassionate professionals).
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