Kiev's participation in Customs Union a political issue: president
Kiev's accession to the Custom Union (CU) is a political, rather than economic issue, visiting Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said Monday during his meeting with President Vladimir Putin, according to Xinhua.
"There are many talks (about CU in Ukraine), experts make various forecasts, there are opponents too. When we start considering the documents practically, then it will become clear about the accession," said Yanukovych.
For his part, Putin said Moscow and Kiev should think together on how to avoid exclusion of Ukrainian goods from the CU market if Ukraine would opt not to join the group.
"Starting 2015, workforce flow will be restricted for all countries other than the CU members. Of course, this concerns us, both Russia and Ukraine," Putin said.
Meanwhile, Putin said deepening integration between CU members, namely Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan makes it harder for Ukrainian companies to get into their markets, according to the Kremlin press service.
On the other hand, Putin added, if Kiev would join the CU, Ukrainian GDP would grow from 1.5 to 6.5 percent.
"From the social-economic point of view, there are serious experts neither in Ukraine, nor in Russia who would deny this is a completely positive process," Putin said, adding Moscow would respect any choice of Kiev.
In 2012, Moscow and Kiev signed a free trade zone treaty.
Local analysts said Kiev was still reluctant to become a full member of the CU, as a closer step to the CU may rule out signing a free trade agreement with the EU, which Ukraine proclaimed as its "top foreign policy priority," experts said.
Yanukovych arrived in Moscow Monday on a working visit to discuss with Putin a wide range of bilateral issues.
Besides Kiev's possible participation in the CU, the ongoing gas price dispute, cooperation in nuclear energy, trade remain top topics for discussion.