Zelensky says EU suspension of import duties will help ‘maintain’ Ukraine’s economy – Reuters

KYIV: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday welcomed the EU’s plan to suspend import duties on Ukrainian goods, saying the move will help “maintain” Kyiv’s economy, hit hard by the devastating invasion of Russia.

“This will allow us to maintain our economic activity in Ukraine as much as possible and preserve our domestic production,” Zelensky said in a video on his Telegram channel as the war with Russia entered its third month.

The EU’s proposed plan to suspend import duties was announced earlier on Wednesday and still needs to be approved in a vote by the bloc’s 27 members.

Zelensky said he had discussed the initiative with EU chief Ursula von der Leyen.

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“I am personally grateful to him and to all our European friends for this milestone,” said the Ukrainian leader.

He accused Russia of “trying to cause a global price crisis” and wreaking “chaos” on the global food market.

Zelensky said the EU plan would also be an “important anti-crisis tool” for European and global markets.

“Ukrainian exports will help stabilize markets,” he said, saying “all Europeans” will benefit from the decision.

The Ukrainian leader said he expected more countries to liberalize Ukrainian exports “soon”.

The European Commission proposed suspending import duties earlier on Wednesday, saying it would “help ease the plight of Ukrainian producers and exporters in the face of the Russian military invasion.”

Brussels’ proposal comes a day after Britain announced it was scrapping all tariffs on Ukrainian products.

Christi C. Elwood