MOSCOW, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- Moscow is not going to sever its trade ties with Kiev in case Ukraine signs a free trade agreement with the European Union (EU), Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.
But Moscow would have to protect its market from the competing products made in the EU, Lavrov told a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Leonid Kozhara.
Meanwhile, Lavrov said Ukraine would not be eligible for any trade preferences reserved for Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
Lavrov also said Russian and Ukrainian citizens must travel between the countries as foreign citizens, using travel passports, not domestic IDs.
For his part, Kozhara said that the Ukraine-EU agreement would have positive consequences for Russia, the Customs Union and the CIS.
He urged Moscow to focus on finding an optimal mode of cooperation following Kiev's joining in the EU free trade zone.
Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin said it would be impossible for Ukraine to join the Moscow-led Customs Union if Kiev signs an association agreement with the EU.
Kiev, which is seeking EU membership, is hoping to sign key agreements with the EU in Vilnius in November, including one on free trade.
Such a prospect has got on Moscow's nerves as the Kremlin is worried that goods made in Europe will sneak into the Customs Union through Ukraine, bypassing customs control.