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KIEV, January 3 (RIA Novosti) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will visit Kiev on January 13-14 to discuss Ukraine’s participation in the Customs Union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara said on Thursday.
Kiev and Moscow are set to intensify their negotiations in the coming months on Ukraine’s participation in the post-Soviet customs bloc, Kozhara said.
“In the first months [of this year], discussions will intensify over the formats of Ukraine’s participation [in the Customs Union] without joining it,” Kozhara said.
Ukraine, which has proclaimed a strategic course for Eurointegration, plans to sign an Association Agreement with the European Union in late 2013. At the same time, Kiev has announced its readiness to join some of the Customs Union rules gradually.
Moscow has repeatedly offered Ukraine to join the Customs Union, promising cheaper gas supplies in return.
Ukraine is reluctant to become a full member, because such a deal would rule out signing a free trade agreement with the EU, and has suggested cooperating with the union under a 'three plus one' scheme, which would not mean full membership.
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