The European Commission recently published the results of Ukraine-EU cooperation within the Association and free trade agreement. The detailed report shows economic indicators increasing significantly compared with 2015 as well an increased import/export dynamic between the EU and Ukraine.

Manipulating figures from the report, Russian media portrayed the relationship as singularly detrimental to Ukraine.

RT in particular went out of its way to portray the Ukraine-EU relationship as beneficial only to the EU with the headline ”Trade with Ukraine is 10 times more profitable for the EU than for Kyiv”.

Website screenshot RT

Russia’s federal news agency RIAfan declared “EU profits in Ukraine thanks to free trade agreement. Aktualnye Novosti meanwhile announced that Ukraine received 10 times less than promised from its trade with the EU.

Website screenshot RIA FAN
Website screenshot Aktualnye Novosti


RT compares annual growth rates and declares that “the free trade zone is 10 times more profitable for the EU”.

The EU’s statistics body Eurostat shows that exports have grown both from Ukraine to the EU and from the EU to Ukraine. The EU is a block of 28 countries and a much larger market than Ukraine and comparing the two is futile and statistically nonsensical.

The Ukraine-EU Association and Free Trade Agreement went into effect January 1, 2016; Ukraine’s GDP for 2016 grew at 1.5%. In 2015 Ukraine’s exports to the EU were in the minus (-6.5%), after the Association agreement went into effect Ukrainian exports to the EU grew by 2%. EU exports to Ukraine rose to 17% in 2016.

Komsomolskaya Pravda, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Newsler Info, Aktualnye Novosti, StatesOne and other Russian media featured this manipulated topic.

Website screenshot RGRU
Website screenshot

One year into the Association agreement Ukrainian media saw only positives for Ukraine from the trade relationship, focusing on the increasing rate of Ukrainian exports to EU countries.