MOSCOW, February 13 (RAPSI) – Kiev has filed an application with the World Trade Organization (WTO) over imposing restrictions by Russia on transit of Ukrainian goods to Third Countries, Ukraine’s Ministry of Economic Development and Trade announced on Monday.

Ukraine has asked the WTO to set up a panel of arbiters to rule on the complaint, according to the statement.

The applicant claims that “about 79 per cent of export supplies from Ukraine to Kazakhstan and 95 per cent of deliveries to Kyrgyzstan suffered from the restrictions imposed by Russia.” According to Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine Natalia Nikolskaya, export of Ukrainian goods to Central Asian Countries in 2016 dropped by 38,3 per cent as compared to 2015.

Kiev in the complaint insists that Moscow violated several articles of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 (GATT 1994) as well as Paragraph 2 of Part I of the Russian Federation's Accession Protocol.

Restrictions have been imposed after establishing a free trade regime between the European Union and Ukraine. The EU and Ukraine have provisionally applied their Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) since January 1, 2016, according to the European Commission’s website. Therefore, operation of the Free Trade treaty between Moscow and Kiev was suspended.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree on measures to ensure the country’s economic security and national interests during transiting goods from Ukraine to Kazakhstan through Russia. Under the decree, rail and truck transit must be conducted from the territory of Belarus with the use of goods identification facilities including the Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS). Later, this order was extended to transit of Ukrainian goods to the Kyrgyz Republic.