Putin threatens Ukraine with full embargo if Kiev implements EU free trade deal

Vladimir Putin
AP/Scanpix

In a letter to the Ukrainian president, quoted by Reuters on Tuesday, Putin warned that even changing national legislation to prepare for the EU-Ukraine trade deal, known as the association agreement, would trigger an immediate response from Moscow.

“We still believe that only systemic adjustments of the Association Agreement, which take into account the full range of risks to Russian-Ukrainian economic ties and to the whole Russian economy, will allow to retain existing trade and economic cooperation between the Russian Federation and Ukraine,” Putin wrote in the letter, which is dated 17 September.

Putin did not go into detail about possible retaliation, but Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said last week he had signed an order to curb Ukrainian exporters’ access to Russia. Those measures are yet to take effect.

Substantially raising Russian tariffs could mean 3 billion euros a year in lost business for Ukraine, which exports mainly steel, coal, chemicals and grains to Russia, EU diplomats say.

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