Brief: Russia and Ukraine Sit Down to Discuss Trade

The talks are the first of their kind since 2014.

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Background: The Kremlin has in recent years used all the tools at its disposal to regain lost influence over the post-Soviet republics. In Ukraine, which Russian troops invaded in 2014 but where a fragile cease-fire between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists in the east has generally held since late July, Moscow’s efforts are turning to improving trade relations. What Happened: On Wednesday, Russian and Ukrainian representatives held their first meeting on trade and economic cooperation since January 2014. Among other figures, Russia was represented by the head of its Chamber of Commerce and Industry, while the Ukrainian side represented more than 240 businesses. A week ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin lifted sanctions on several Ukrainian businesses, and in response a senior figure of Ukraine’s largest opposition party (who had lobbied Putin to lift the sanctions) said Kyiv should partially lift its own sanctions against Russia. Finally, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is preparing legislation on a transitional period for the reintegration of the secessionist Donbass region following the restoration of peace there. Reaching an agreement with Moscow on Donbass and securing the return of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, are key priorities for Zelenskiy. Bottom Line: Intensification of the dialogue […]

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