December 22, 2015 / 1:06 PM / 2 years ago

Putin says Russia 'to continue efforts' to settle trade ties with Ukraine, EU

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow, Russia, December 17, 2015. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will continue making efforts to iron out existing disputes in its trade relations with the European Union and Ukraine, Russian news agencies quoted President Vladimir Putin as saying on Tuesday.

“I think we will return to these issues more than once. We want to normalize relations (in trade) with our partners - with Ukraine and with the European Union,” Interfax news agency quoted Putin as saying.

Last week Putin ordered his government officials to suspend Russia’s free trade zone with Ukraine from Jan. 1 of next year, citing “extraordinary circumstances affecting the interests and economic security” of Russia.

The decree was signed as Ukraine and the EU agreed to begin the implementation of their bilateral trade agreement on Jan. 1.

Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said separately on Tuesday that Russia was ready “to take part in talks and search for compromise” on the Ukraine-EU trade agreement.

Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya and Anastasia Teterevleva; writing by Dmitry Solovyov; editing by Polina Devitt

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