Thursday, December 24, 2015

Russia Suspends Free Trade with Ukraine: Kiev Imposes Embargo in Response

Russia Suspends Free Trade with Ukraine: Kiev Imposes Embargo in Response

by Stephen Lendman

Ukraine’s regime is a US-installed, Nazi-infested, rogue state, run by a widely despised illegitimate oligarch president. 

It’s a metastasizing cancer in Europe’s heartland, a hostile force used by Washington against Russia, despised by nearly 90% of its citizens - fed up with widespread corruption, economic hard times, neoliberal harshness and war on its own citizens.

Normal Ukrainian/Russian relations became impossible once fascists replaced democrats. They began deteriorating straightaway.

Nothing in prospect suggests change. In mid-December, Putin signed a decree, suspending free trade with Ukraine, effective January 1.

“Due to exceptional circumstances affecting the interests and economic security of the Russian Federation which  require immediate measures, I order…from January 1, 2016 to suspend the Agreement on the free trade zone with Ukraine, which was signed in St. Petersburg on 18 October 2011,” it said.

Both countries are part of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Beginning next year, Ukraine becomes more allied with the EU trading bloc, short of membership.

In November, Moscow’s Economic Development Minister Aleksey Ulyukaev announced a food embargo on Ukraine, effective January 1 - in response to Kiev allying with US-led sanctions on Russia.

The measure aims to prevent EU agricultural products from entering the Russian Federation - blocked by its embargo in response to Western sanctions.

Tariffs will be imposed on other imports permitted from Ukraine - because it’s no longer a CIS free trade zone member. Therefore, should enjoy no benefits.

On December 22, Russia’s lower house State Duma unanimously approved a bill suspending Ukraine from CIS free trade privileges.

“We have to adopt this bill because the economic part of Ukraine’s Association Agreement with the European Union is coming into force, and we need to protect Russia’s economic interests,” Speaker Sergey Naryshkin explained.

A separate explanatory note said “(t)he Ukrainian side is practically abandoning the development of trade and economic cooperation within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and chooses a path of advancement towards comprehensive integration with the European Union.”

According to State Duma Committee for CIS Affairs head Leonid Slutsky, reversing the above policy may follow “(i)f the situation in Ukraine gets back to normal” - not expected any time soon, not with illegitimate putschists in charge.

“(F)or the moment, it is necessary to support the president’s decision,” Slutsky explained. Russia’s upper house Federation Council is expected to follow suit this week.

On Thursday, Kiev’s parliament approved the regime’s right to impose a trade embargo on Russia - as soon as anointed oligarch president Petro Poroshenko approves the measure as expected.

“In response to our long consultations…Russia imposed a trade embargo on Ukrainian goods that will come into force January 1 of next year,” illegitimate prime minister Arseny Yatsenyuk blustered. 

“This is not Russia’s first decision, but systematic pressure over the last 10 years on Ukraine with the goal of not letting the Ukrainian economy to develop…but these Russian decisions have received and will receive a merited response.”

“We will protect the internal market of Ukraine. Russia will receive a response from the Ukrainian government in the form of trade embargo and mirror sanctions against Russian products.”

At stake are hundreds of millions of dollars in trade. Also on the same day, Kiev’s parliament approved a measure permitting sanctions against Russia.

Separately, Russia 1 TV exposed German state broadcaster ZDF’s failed attempt to claim Moscow’s military involvement in Ukraine - using an actor posing as a Russian volunteer in a documentary titled Strongman Putin.

The scheme aimed to suggest many other Russian military forces are involved. No credible evidence proves it. None exists. The soldier portrayed in the film named Igor has a clearly visible Ukrainian flag on his uniform.

ZDF lied, claiming he’s “a volunteer for the separatist fighters, a fact which he is proud of.” Igor isn’t his real name. It’s Yury Lobyskin, an unemployed Kaliningrad youth - with no involvement in Donbass’ conflict.

“A German journalist called Dietmar (real name Dietmar Schumann, a ZDF employee) came to see me as well as a film crew from Germany and said ‘let’s film a documentary about you,’ saying that you went from Kaliningrad to Donetsk to fight for the separatists,” Lobyskin explained.

“(T)hey needed me to say that I was wounded,” even though it’s not true. “(T)hey took me to Moscow, and then two hours later I was in Rostov,” near Ukraine’s border. Then on to Donbass where the documentary was filmed - trained for several days and told what to say, willful lies, portraying a phantom scenario.

It included Yury saying (from his contrived script) he was paid 25,000 rubles a month to fight against Ukrainian forces in Donbass, leaving his wife and young child behind.

The film was poorly conceived and received, criticized after its airing. According to German lawyer/politician Alexander Gauland:

“I don’t think that the Germans believe everything they see on television. There are a number of people who criticize our mass media, such as state channels like ARD and ZDF.” 

“Germans are very good at reading between the lines, and I don’t think that this one-sided position against Russia will prove to be effective.”

ZDF’s defense of its sham film in response to Russia 1’s query fell flat - irresponsible propaganda  without a shred of evidence supporting its claims.

Last February, ZDF was caught red-handed airing fake photos of alleged Russian tanks in Ukraine - citing a Ukrainian army spokesman’s fabricated claim.

Photos were Russian tanks in South Ossetia in 2008, unrelated to events in Ukraine. 

Instead of fostering good relations with Moscow, Germany and other EU nations let Washington pressure them to act against their own self-interest.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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