YEREVAN, September 20. / ARKA /. The European Union has intensified efforts to keep a number of former Soviet republics in its Eastern Partnership program following the announcement by Armenian president that Armenia was ready to join the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, head of the Russian parliament committee on international affairs Alexei Pushkov said.
On Friday the State Duma (lower chamber of parliament) was to consider a statement to retaliate to the European Parliament resolution criticizing Russia for alleged pressure on some former Soviet republics involved in EU’s Eastern Partnership program, Novosti -Armenia reports quoting RIA Novosti .
"Brussels’ reaction to Armenia’s announcement about a possible accession to the Customs Union was extremely painful. It was a shock, it was viewed as a signal to a counter-attack because the Eastern Partnership, designed to subordinate a number of CIS countries to EU’s policy may be jeopardized,’ Pushkov said, adding that it was this fear prompting the anti-Russian resolution and EU enlargement commissioner, Stefan Fuele’s statement about backing Ukraine’s sovereignty so that it can make independent decisions.
"Independent decisions as they are understood by Mr. Fuele are decisions which will push Ukraine away from Russia and include in the scope of EU's influence. The pressure exerted on Ukraine in this connection by EU exceeds, perhaps, everything we have seen in recent years, " Pushkov said. -0-