Ukraine to pursue ties with post-Soviet Customs Union

Ukraine will craft its relations with the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan in a 3+1 format, the country’s president said on Thursday.

“Our future relations with the Customs Union will be based on a possible agreement on 3+1 cooperation,” Viktor Yanukovych said during his annual address to parliament.

The European Union, in which Kiev is expecting to clinch associate membership this year, has accused the former Soviet state of playing a “double game” by simultaneously seeking entry to the Customs Union.

Commenting on Yanukovych’s statement, Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko said integration with the EU was the only way to go for Ukraine.

“I am sure that this is the only way for Ukraine – the way towards our European prospects. And our final goal is Ukraine’s membership in the EU,” he said, adding “I am sure there is no alternative to this because we are a European country by our nature.”

Russian gas giant Gazprom said on Thursday it would cut the country’s gas bill by $8 billion every year if it joined the Customs Union.

MOSCOW, April 7 (RIA Novosti)

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