Partnership with Western countries does not hamper but helps Ukraine in its efforts to create better standards of living for Ukrainians, presidential candidate and leader of the Party of Regions Viktor Yanukovych said.
"I can unequivocally say that our relations with the West are doing no harm to us. For us it is a guide in both social and technical standards that we should strive for in creating a European life level in Ukraine," he said on the Dnipropetrovsk television on Tuesday.
Ukraine must build partnerships and mutually beneficial relations with Europe, Yanukovych said.
This involves creating a free trade zone, which is of interest to Ukraine, and visa-free travel between Ukraine and the EU countries, he added.
"Our policy must convince our partners both in the East and West to treat us with respect," he said.
Once acceptable standards have been met, Ukraine can consider the time for joining the EU, Yanukovych said.
"I think when the time comes and we achieve those standards that currently exist in Europe, the question will arise where we should be and then we will give an answer to it. But today this is an absolutely motivating, stimulating process we must aspire to," Yanukovych said.
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