Ukraine to limit transit of Russian goods in response to Kremlin

© Maksim Blinov
The Ukrainian government is planning to introduce a bill restricting the movement of Russian goods through the country. The step is seen as retaliation for a Russian bill toughening the rules on the transit of Ukrainian goods through its territory.

"We will respond to Moscow's actions regarding the transit of Ukrainian goods across Russia,” said Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Stepan Kubiv during a parliamentary session on Monday.

Kubiv added that Kiev would increase the customs duty on Russian goods imported into Ukraine.

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“This is a clear-cut stand that meets international laws,” said Kubiv, adding that the measures would come into force after a presidential decree is issued.

On Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree prolonging and toughening restrictions on Ukrainian goods until the end of 2017.

The document broadens the current rules imposed on Ukrainian goods transported to Kazakhstan through Russia. It now applies to the transit of goods to neighboring Kyrgyzstan. Ukrainian exports to Central Asia must now be through specific check points, routes and be accompanied by a special customs convoy.

The current restrictions force Ukraine to transport goods via Belarus in sealed containers with all the freight equipped with GLONASS navigation system when they enter Russia.

Moscow suspended the free trade deal with Ukraine on January 1, 2016. The Kremlin said Ukraine’s open borders with the EU could compromise the country's interests and economic security. Russia expressed concern, that without such a barrier, Ukraine could illegally supply embargoed European goods to Russia.