Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Grosman addresses the Cabinet. Photo courtesy of the Ukrainian government
KIEV, Ukraine, July 5 (UPI) -- Ukraine is seeking a new route for shipping goods to Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic after Russia placed new restrictions against the movement of goods through its territory.
About 50 trucks loaded with Ukrainian goods have been stuck in the Russian town of Smolensk, near the border with Belarus, since Friday when Russia added the Kyrgyz Republic to shipping restrictions.
Ukraine's Trade Representative Natalya Mikolskaya said that the nation is studying an alternative route without crossing Russia. Otherwise, all the goods will return to Ukraine, she said.
The new restrictions also include a complete ban on the transit of embargoed goods.
The Ukraine government said the measures violate Russia's obligations under the World Trade Organization agreement.
"The government has taken and will take all possible measures to protect the national interests of Ukraine and combat any manifestations of aggression on the part of the Russian Federation. We have prepared adequate measures that will be put into effect immediately," the Ukrainian government said in a statement.
Later, during a meeting in the Parliament, First Deputy Prime Minister Stepan Kubiv spoke about the government's position.
"It is clear that Russia's actions are not economically and legally justified, but they will lead to deterioration in trade relations with the third countries," said Kubiv, who serves as Ukraine's Economy Minister. "They are discriminatory. We will impose the mirror sanctions in respect of goods and transit. We will raise the mirror duties on Russian goods."
Kubiv added that Ukraine doesn't want to get into a trade war with Russia, saying "sword-to-sword and blood-to-blood" is not solution.
Russia's free trade zone treaty with Ukraine was suspended on Jan. 1 after Ukraine became part of the European Union trading bloc.
Previously, Ukraine and Russia were trading partners as Commonwealth of Independent States countries.
Russia's Economic Development Minister Aleksey Ulyukaev said the measure protects the Russian market from the illegal supply of embargoed European goods that will become available in Ukraine.