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  Tuesday, December 10, 2019
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Victor Chernomyrdin believes that Russia and Ukraine can integrate into Europe only together
Victor Chernomyrdin, Russia's ambassador to Ukraine, believes that Russia and Ukraine can integrate into Europe only together. "Both Russia and Ukraine want to integrate into European and world structures. However, in order to achieve this we must bring our laws into conformity with one another. I think that Russia and Ukraine can integrate into Europe only together," Chernomyrdin said in an interview to the Rossiiskiye vesti newspaper. "I am convinced that the idea that Russia and Ukraine must join the European structures independently, on their own, is wrong. We must point out that Russia and Ukraine are not ready for such rapprochement with European structures," the ambassador said. He expressed certainty that "we need them no less than they need us. Therefore, I think that we shall get membership in European structures not when they invite us, but when we are ready for this. However, we must resolve our own problems first. The main of them are the tasks of enhancing the countries' economic development levels and raising the living standards of their populations," Chernomyrdin stressed. Speaking about the formation of a common economic space of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, the ambassador noted that "this is the most resolute step of the state towards real integration within the CIS framework taken over the past few years." In his words, before the end of this year the four countries' governments must draft proposals on the formation of a free trade zone. "At the same time, I want to stress that we have long had such a zone, even though with some withdrawals and limitations," Chernomyrdin noted. He said that about 60 laws in Russia and Ukraine must be amended in order to step up the formation of a free trade zone. "Considering the scale of this work, the Russian and Ukrainian presidents proposed that only 14 laws should be amended first. Amendments to these laws will make it possibleto resolve many problems, including those on restrictions in the sphere of energy resources, i.e., oil, gas and condensate," Chernomyrdin said in conclusion.
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