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Ukraine opposition names three 'Must Nots' in dealings with Russia

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Sept. 18, 2012, 2:21 p.m. | Politics — by Interfax-Ukraine

Ukraine must not make concessions to Russia in matters related to the Russian language's status as a second official language, and Ukraine's membership in the Customs Union or military bloc, said Arseniy Yatseniuk, the council chairman of the Batkivschyna opposition alliance.
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Ukraine must not make concessions to Russia in matters related to the Russian language's status as a second official language, and Ukraine's membership in the Customs Union or military bloc, said Arseniy Yatseniuk, the council chairman of the Batkivschyna opposition alliance.

"We are ready to discuss all problems with our Russian partners. But there are three "No's." We are saying 'No' to the Customs Union, another 'No' to a military alliance, and one more 'No' to the Russian language's status as a second official language," he said in the Freedom of Speech program on ICTV television.

Ukraine must also become less dependent on Russia as a gas consumer. Ukraine extracts 21 billion cubic meters of gas each year, he said. "Poland consumes 14 billion cubic meters, but the Polish economy is three times larger than Ukrainian. Therefore, when we are saying that we are poor, we are not right. We are a rich nation," Yatseniuk said.

He also said that Ukraine must sign an agreement on political association and free trade zone with the European Union.

"European integration is not empty words but concrete things. In the European Union, the life span is 12 years longer than in Ukraine and in neighboring Russia, while in Poland pensions and wages are 3.5 times higher than in Ukraine," he said.

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