Russia denies deal with Ukraine on Customs Union membership

MOSCOW, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- Russia and Ukraine did not strike any deal on Kiev's potential accession to the Moscow-led Customs Union, Russian Minister for Economic Development Alexei Ulyukayevfor said Monday.

"There are no any preliminary agreements," Ulyukayev told reporters.

The minister did not rule out the possibility that Ukraine would eventually join the Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan Customs Union (CU) but stressed the process will take much time - several years the least.

Ulyukayev said to join the CU, a country must have done "a huge amount of work and clearly state its desire to do so."

Moscow has not seen clear intentions from Kiev so far, he added.

On Saturday, Kremlin denied Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych have discussed Kiev's possible integration with the CU during their meeting in the Black Sea city of Sochi.

In early December, Russia agreed to fast-track the process of Armenia to join the CU, as Moscow tried to integrate more ex-Soviet states into the Russia-dominated entity, especially after Kiev decided to suspend its integration process with the European Union.