Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law the suspension of Russia’s free-trade agreement with Ukraine as of 1 January 2016. In response, the Ukrainian government has passed counter-sanctions that will restrict trade with Russia if the suspension enters force. In early December, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk announced that his government would submit a bill to parliament authorising it to impose mirrored sanctions against any country that imposes sanctions on it. At the same time, Russian Trade and Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukyev stated that “It’s a very probable scenario” that there would be no agreement on the Ukraine situation before 1 January and so a non-preferential trade regime would be introduced, noting the “extraordinary efforts” required to reach agreement (see previous blog).
The Ukrainian Prime Minister has said that his government is prepared to scrap the new trade sanctions against Russia, provided Moscow agrees to lift the food embargo currently in force against Ukraine and maintain the free-trade agreement.