Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow will respect Ukraine's decision to conclude an agreement on free trade area with the European Union.
"Let us see what will be the choice of the Ukrainian leadership. Whatever choice will be made, we will treat it with respect and, of course, will continue to work. But the question is simply how we will work, what we will need to undertake to protect our own interests," said the Russian leader in an interview with the First Channel and The Associated Press.
He mentioned the economic cooperation between the two countries, and did not rule out that imports from Europe will supplant Ukrainian goods to the markets of the Customs Union countries. "But we did not agree on that, it will create problems for our economy," said Vladimir Putin.
In addition, problems, according to the president of Russia, will arise in the Ukrainian aerospace and aircraft building industries. "All our helicopters are equipped with Ukrainian engines, what shall we do? How all this will develop, or it will not at all," says Putin.
According to him, Russia and Ukraine could create a single economic space. In this case, according to the president of Russia, for the Europeans it would be more difficult to talk with Kiev as part of the Customs Union, rather than directly only with Ukraine.
Alongside with that, Putin stressed that Russia and Ukraine have shared roots, and wherever the two countries go, they still meet sometime and somewhere. "Whe? Because we are a single nation. And no matter how angry the nationalists on both sides are, and the nationalists exist both in our country, and in Ukraine, that's just the way it is," said the head of state.
He noted that "of course, we have common historical roots and common destiny, we have a common religion, a common faith, we have a very similar culture, languages, traditions and mentality, but at the same time, each side has its own features and ethnic coloration." The Russian President admitted that he admires the Ukrainian culture - the language, dances and music.