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You're reading: Despite pressure, Ukraine manages to stand up for its interests

The free-trade agreement was signed under first President Leonid Kravchuk. But it never worked because Russia failed to ratify it. Ynaukovych revisited the subject at least twice last year, during CIS summits in Dushanbe and Moscow.

On March 20, the State Duma of Russia ratified the agreement. President-elect Vladimir Putin, who was meeting with Ukraine’s president on that day, offered Yanukovych to sign the ratified document on the same day, as soon as Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada and Russia’s upper parliament chamber vote for it.

But there is a question on whether Ukraine needs to join this trade grouping now, when Russia is about to ratify in May the protocol on joining the World Trade Organization. Ukraine’s officials think there is a need for it, and that Russia’s joining the WTO would allow to continue bilateral relations based on WTO rules.

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