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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ukraine Moves Closer To Economic Union

Ukraine may soon join the economic union of the Commonwealth of Independent States, a Moscow-led grouping of former Soviet republics, Russian Economics Minister Alexander Shokhin said.

Shokhin told Itar-Tass on Tuesday that a CIS meeting in Moscow agreed in principle to accept Ukraine as an associate member to the economic union, to be followed by full membership.

"Ukraine is more likely to be a full member and not an associate member of the CIS economic union," he added, giving no timetable for membership.

Many former Soviet republics who had independence thrust upon them over two years ago have retreated back under the wings of Russia. They have sought to regain the comforts of security guarantees and close economic relations between former Soviet states.

For its part, Russia is keen to consolidate its dominant position in the CIS.

Shokhin called for stronger economic ties between former Soviet states. "This trend will help to revitalize economic links which we had on the territory of the former Soviet Union and which are still important elements in the economic life of any CIS state," he said.

Ukraine is a founding member of the CIS but not part of the union set up last May by Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

The member states have committed themselves to moving toward a common market within the CIS and creating an interstate bank and customs union.

President Leonid Kravchuk said associate membership is enough for Ukraine, although several officials, including Deputy Prime Minister Valentyn Landyk, hope for full membership.