Russia will take tough measures to protect agrarian market if Ukraine quits CIS or signs EU association agreement - Medvedev

Russia will take "tough measures" to protect its agrarian market in the event of Ukraine's exit from the CIS or its association with the European Union, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.

Russia will take "tough measures" to protect its agrarian market in the event of Ukraine's exit from the CIS or its association with the European Union, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.

These measures will be taken in the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO), he said at a congress of people's deputies from rural areas in Volgograd.

"If our Ukrainian partners either exit the CIS or sign an EU association agreement, which is what their current leaders are talking about, we shall have to review the conditions for agrarian cooperation and take measures to protect the Russian agrarian market in the WTO framework," Medvedev said.

"This is a tough decision, but we shall have to do that," he said.

"If such decisions are made, we'll have to do that because the interests of our domestic agricultural producers are more important for us than of some others, even if they live in neighboring countries," Medvedev said. "Everyone must understand this," the premier said.

The government support for Russian agricultural producers will remain at current levels, Medvedev said.

"The current period is really difficult: bad growth in global economy, a slowdown in ours, plus all sorts of political decisions being made against our country. We have to reduce, not grow, some of our programs, but not the agrarian ones. I stress: all of them will remain in place. And as additional finance comes in, we shall invest it (finance) in state support mechanisms," Medvedev said.

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