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Russia eases customs checks on Ukraine imports

Russia eases customs checks on Ukraine imports

MOSCOW: Russia has scaled back tough customs checks on Ukrainian imports, a week after beginning a clampdown the Kremlin said would be extended if its ex-Soviet neighbor were to sign a free-trade deal with the European Union.

Ukraine’s Ministry of Revenues and Duties said Ukrainian goods were now crossing the border with Russia “as normal” after officials from the two countries met Monday. Ukrainian exporters last week complained of costly delays at the border caused by stricter checks.

Russia is urging Ukraine to join a trade bloc, known as the Customs Union, it is forming with Belarus and Kazakhstan. But Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has said he instead wants to sign a free-trade and political-association agreement with the EU in November.

Sergei Glazyev, a senior economic adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin, said Sunday that the increased border checks were preparations for “toughening” customs procedures if Ukraine were to take the “suicidal” step of signing the EU deal.