22:51 24.10.2013

Russia won't close market for Ukrainian goods but no more benefits - Putin

Russia will not close its market for goods from Ukraine if the latter signs an association agreement with the European Union, but Ukrainian products will no longer enjoy benefits, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

There is a free trade zone within the CIS which both Russia and Ukraine are participants in, he said at a press conference in Minsk on Thursday.

"We reserve the right to use the sixth protocol to the Free Trade Agreement in order to safeguard our market. This does not mean that we will ban imports of Ukrainian goods to our market, this means that these goods will not enjoy benefits as part of the free trade zone," Putin said.

"Ukrainian goods will be in the same position as goods from other countries of the world that are WTO members," he said.

"We are ready to protect our market," Putin said, adding that he agreed with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to hold consultations ahead of Ukraine's signing an association agreement with the EU.

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