Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 129

Ukraine, as usual, was choosy about the discussions and agreements it chose to follow at the November 3 CIS prime ministers’ meeting in Moscow. Prime Minister Yevhen Marchuk told Ukrainian media upon his return that he did not actively participate in talks on the CIS Customs Union, nor did he sign agreements related to the CIS collective security treaty. Ukraine’s position "was not to everyone’s liking" but, Marchuk found, many other participants were supportive of Kiev’s stance. The prime minister stressed that he is not against the Customs Union as such but is awaiting to see "the complete picture of what kind of union this is" and, crucially, whether it will be based on the principles of free trade. As for the collective security treaty, Ukrainian participation is all but a dead issue. What Kiev did agree to was the establishment of a CIS scientific-technological "common space." It also signed off on participation in certain technological aspects of a unified air defense system. But, according to Marchuk, the Ukrainian side wrote in the margins that it "does not recognize the words ‘unified air defense system’."(15)