New Cold War.org, Feb 16, 2015, from reports on RT.com
Russia has decided to block transport trucks from Ukraine from entering or transiting through its territory after the Ukrainian government failed to deal with Ukrainian ultra-nationalists who are stopping Russian trucks from travelling through the western and northern regions of Ukraine from the European Union.
Ukraine has responded to the Russian ban by banning Russian trucks from entering its territory.
More than 500 Russian trucks are presently held up at the EU-Ukraine border, according to a Feb 15 report in RT.com. The Ukrainian rightists want Kyiv to ban the transit of goods destined for Russia.
Russia’s transport ministry said in a statement, “The measures will be in place until a settlement of the illegal blocking of Russian vehicles in Ukrainian territory by Ukraine.”
The ministry added that what is happening is a flagrant violation of the agreement between the governments of Russia and Ukraine on international transport.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said the transit of Russian trucks through Ukraine has been stopped until Moscow explains the changes concerning the transit of Ukrainian trucks through Russia.
Transporting goods by truck between Russia and Ukraine has already been complicated since the Kremlin changed transportation rules for Ukrainian goods exported to Kazakhstan through Russia this year. Ukraine must now transport goods to Belarus in sealed containers. The freight must have a GLONASS navigation system installed when the goods enter Russia.
The rule change came after Moscow suspended the free trade treaty with Ukraine at the beginning of 2016. The Russian government says Ukraine’s open borders with the EU compromise Russia’s interests and economic security. Moscow is concerned that without a barrier, Ukraine could illegally supply embargoed European goods to Russia.
The Kremlin has also banned food imports from Ukraine in response to the country joining anti-Russian sanctions.
On February 1, Poland stopped Russian trucks using its territory after a transit agreement expired and Moscow and Warsaw failed to agree on a new one. As a result, Russian trucks traveling from Western Europe were using routes through Ukraine, Slovakia and Hungary. Talks on a new agreement to restore Poland-Russia truck transport are ongoing, but Euronews reported on Feb 15 that borders of Ukraine and Poland remain closed to Russian trucks. Both countries are governed by right-wing, anti-Russia ideologues.
Statistics from the International Trade Centre show that in 2015, Poland was eleventh among Russia’s foreign trade partners. Russian exported $9 billion worth of goods to Poland in the first eleven months of 2015. Polish exports to Russia, mostly consumer goods, were worth $3.7 billion in the same period, compared with $6.6 billion in 2014.
Kiev estimates loss from trade war with Moscow at $1.1bn a year, RT.com, Feb 4, 2016
Trade volume from EU to Russia fell by a quarter to 2.2 million tonnes (2.4 million tons) in the last three months of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014. In the opposite direction, trade rose 5 percent year-over-year to 2.09 million tonnes in the fourth quarter.
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