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Ukraine to ban imports of Russian oil products

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk says his country is planning to impose a ban on importing Russian oil products.

The Ukrainian premier made the announcement during a televised cabinet meeting in the capital, Kiev, on Wednesday.

Yatsenyuk said he had requested the Ukrainian Ministry of Economy to prepare “a mechanism for banning the purchases of petroleum products” from Russia.

He said the government had already "introduced a number of sanctions against Russia," adding, "But for some reason, one of the key elements -- the purchase of Russian oil products -- did not make this list."

The Ukrainian prime minister said he also sought to remove import duties on second-hand cars except those from Russia.

Relations between Moscow and Kiev have soured since March 2014, when the Crimean Peninsula rejoined Russia in a referendum and Ukraine began a military crackdown on pro-Russia forces fighting for greater autonomy in the Russian-speaking Luhansk and Donetsk regions in the east of the country.

Last month, the European Union extended anti-Russia sanctions, including asset freezes and travel bans, which had been imposed against Moscow over its alleged role in the Ukrainian conflict. The United Nations also extended its sanctions against Russia until March next year.

Washington and its European allies accuse Moscow of destabilizing Ukraine. Moscow, however, rejects having a hand in the crisis.

Russia has also imposed trade restrictions against Ukraine in response to those imposed by Kiev and Western powers.

According to the United Nations, over 9,000 people have lost their lives and some 20,000 have been injured in the conflict in eastern Ukraine since April 2014.

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