13:34 GMT04 March 2021
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    Russia will strengthen customs controls on goods from Ukraine, Russian Deputy Economic Development Minister Alexei Likhachev said Tuesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On December 16, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on the suspension of a free trade deal with Ukraine within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), effective from January 1, 2016.

    "In customs service, we will increase the toughness and severity of [our] administration," Likhachev said in the Russian lower house of parliament, the State Duma.

    In 2014, Kiev and Brussels signed an association agreement aimed at Ukraine's political association and economic integration into the bloc. The agreement seeks to create a free trade zone between Ukraine and the 28 EU member states.

    Moscow has repeatedly said that if Ukraine retained preferential trade rights within the CIS, while simultaneously opening its market to European goods, Russia’s market could be flooded by an uncontrolled flow of European goods via Ukraine.

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    customs, Alexei Likhachev, Ukraine, Russia
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