VIENNA, June 27 (RIA Novosti) – Russia expects the forthcoming expert-level consultations and ministerial talks with Ukraine and the EU on Kiev’s association with the bloc will be a step toward reaching common ground, a deputy Russian foreign minister said Friday.
“We have so far seen no real wish to listen to Russian concerns. We would like to hope that the forthcoming rounds of technical and expert consultations and ministerial-level meetings will be a step toward finding mutual understanding,” Alexei Meshkov said at the OSCE Annual Security Review Conference in Vienna.
The ministerial-level talks between the EU, Russia and Ukraine are scheduled for July 11, while the expert-level consultations on the issue in Brussels are to be held this week.
“We see no danger in the primarily economic deals that this association agreement comes laden with. That’s why there is a need for a substantive, technical and expert dialogue on how to avoid deteriorating the economic climate in Russian-Ukrainian relations amid the signing of this deal and what steps the sides should take,” Meshkov said.
Some approaches should be revised and in some cases transition periods, primarily regarding Ukraine’s switch to EU regulations, should be increased, the deputy said, adding that the move could disrupt cooperation between Ukrainian and Russian companies.
Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and the European Union signed association agreements that envision the creation of a free-trade zone with the EU during a summit in Brussels Friday.
Shortly after, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said integration with the EU is a sovereign right, but Russia will take all measures necessary to protect its market from the possible negative consequences of such an agreement.