Ukraine to suspend trade with Crimea

In accordance with the government meeting’s decision, Ukraine will suspend trade with Crimea within 30 days. As the Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said the suspension will include goods, work and services to and from Crimea with the exception of personal items, socially important foods and humanitarian aid. However, the electricity issue is considered as separate, and will be decided by the Ukraine’s Security and Defense Council. Crimea is now suffering with blackouts after the four pylons supplying the peninsula with electricity were blown up. The power cut affected over 1.6 million people and increased tensions between Moscow and Kiev. In retaliation, Russia suspended coal exports to Ukraine followed by Ukraine saying it would suspend cargo shipments to Crimea.

Russia does not have a direct land access to Crimea and thus uses ferries for supplies to the region. Kremlin is now working to link the peninsula to the Russian mainland by a power supply bridge with cables. Meanwhile, Crimean Tatar leaders threatened to block the sea saying they want to make occupation as expansive and complicated as possible. Crimean Tatars started a land blockade of the peninsula in September trying to draw attention to human rights situation in the region.

The Kiev move comes in the midst of developments in EU-Ukraine and Russia-Ukraine trade relations. As the President Petr Poroshenko held meetings in Brussels, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his government to suspend a free trade zone based on 2011 free trade deal with Ukraine starting from January 1st. Poroshenko said Ukraine is aware of the restrictions and possible damage in that case, but Kiev is ready to pay the price for “freedom and European choice”. The Russian response, in case Kiev presses ahead with closer ties with the EU, is related to Russia’s opposition to EU-Ukraine free trade pact, saying it could lead to flow of European imports across its borders and damage competitiveness of Russian exports to Ukraine. The EU is also due to extend economic sanctions against Russia over the unrest in east Ukraine.

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One thought on “Ukraine to suspend trade with Crimea

  1. This highly problematised relationship between Ukraine and Russia is not just limited to those two countries, but has spilled out elsewhere, and in London. Given Moscow’s enormous, global media reach, and how the Euromaidan campaign has received social media training from at least one European government, might such ‘clashes’ be taking place elsewhere, in Europe, the US, the CIS, Asia, and beyond?

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