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Ukraine 'Ready To Pay Price' For EU Deal, Putin Suspends Trade Zone

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko speaks during a press conference prior to a meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels on December 16.

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko says his country is "ready to pay the price" for a trade deal with the European Union after Moscow moved to restrict its own trade ties with Kyiv over the EU-Ukraine pact that is due to take effect on January 1.

Poroshenko made the remarks upon arriving in Brussels on December 16 after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his government to suspend a free trade zone with Ukraine beginning on January 1.

It was controversy over the EU-Ukraine trade deal that triggered the unrest in Kyiv that culminated with the ousting of the pro-Russian former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and Russia's annexation of Crimea in early 2014.

Earlier on December 16, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Kyiv would suspend trade with Russian-occupied Crimea by January 15.

Yatsenyuk said Ukraine's cabinet had decided that "the supplying of goods, work, and services to Crimea and from Crimea" will be banned.

The only exceptions, he said, would be "personal items, socially important foods, and humanitarian aid."

Yatsenyuk said the restoration of electricity supplied to Crimea was a separate issue that could only be decided by Ukraine's Security and Defense Council.

Crimea is suffering long blackouts after pylons that supplied the peninsula were blown up by unknown people in November.

The issue has caused a crisis in Crimea and has worsened Ukrainian-Russian tensions.

Russia has suspended coal exports to Ukraine in retaliation.

With reporting by Reuters, TASS, and AP
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