Ukrainian foreign minister Leonid Kozhara has said he expects an improvement in relations with Russia after the signing by Ukraine of the Association Agreement with the European Union.

"We expect an improvement in relations with Russia after the signing of the Association Agreement with the EU…" he said in an interview with Forbes.ua as part of the 10th Yalta Annual Meeting organized by the Yalta European Strategy, Interfax-Ukraine reported.

"I am confident that the signing by Ukraine of the Association Agreement with the EU will have a positive impact on political and economic relations with Russia. We understand that the Russian policy towards association is currently based on some sentiments. I think this factor will disappear after the signing of the agreement and we will be able to more rationally and pragmatically proceed to the further development of our relations."

He noted that "there are currently a lot of things to improve in the mechanism of Ukrainian- Russian relations."

"When political passions surrounding the signing of the Association Agreement cool down a bit, we will have to build relations with Russia, taking into account the opportunities offered by Ukraine’s free trade with the EU. This is not only a powerful factor for the development of Ukraine’s trade with the EU, but also a positive factor for Russia and Russian producers," Kozhara said.

He said that the goods produced in Ukraine by Russian-Ukrainian joint ventures would have a zero duty in the EU.

"It should be a good incentive for Russian investment in our country’s economy and for the realization of their strategic interests," Kozhara said.

The minister also noted that "relations between the two countries in the energy sector can also develop fruitfully without Ukraine’s membership of the Customs Union."
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