Before the meeting, on his way from Sevastopol Airport to Yalta, Vladimir Putin made an unscheduled stop at the camp of the Night Wolves Motoclub.
* * *
Beginning of the meeting with President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych
President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych: Good afternoon, Mr Putin,
It is a great pleasure to welcome you to Crimea. The weather has been a little hot here, but I know that on the way here you have already had an opportunity to chat with your friends, the bikers.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: They are expecting you, too.
Viktor Yanukovych: That’s good, I’ll be happy to pay them a visit. I have passed on my greetings to them and said, “Go ahead and meet with the Russian President first, and I will come over later.”
Vladimir Putin: I told them that the last time we met you suggested that we get on our bikes, remember the old days and ride over.
Viktor Yanukovych: We can do that, no problem.
Mr Putin, today will see a very important event in our relations: the [Russian-Ukrainian] Interstate Commission, which you and I have established, has prepared some very important documents, some of which will be signed by the two of us, and the rest by the representatives of our state agencies.
I think the Declaration on Strategic Partnership will have a special place among them. The decision has been made for us to begin joint efforts towards deepening our strategic relationship, and I think both Ukrainian and Russian citizens are waiting for this. I think we will have enough time today to discuss many issues, so I hope you will not be in too much of a hurry.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Yanukovych, we can work as long as we need to.
Viktor Yanukovych: This meeting is taking place in Crimea. They say everyone who comes here gets a positive result – it must be something in the air. I hope we will have a good result, too.
We have state visits scheduled for the near future: I will visit Russia this year and we expect to see you in Ukraine next year. It is therefore very important that such high-level meetings have continued at the same intensity. Today we will have an opportunity to discuss the results this interaction has produced.
Bilateral trade has grown substantially, exceeding $55 billion last year. This year, we did not have a very good start but our experts say that the harsh weather last winter had a great impact on the situation.
Nevertheless, we have by now nearly reached the trade targets that had been planned, and I hope that we will manage to at least duplicate last year’s performance, and most likely will exceed last year's impressive figures.
Once again, welcome to Ukraine. I am very glad to see you and hope that our meeting today will be fruitful.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much. First of all, thank you for the invitation. We have been planning this meeting and our joint work for a long time.
As you know, I am accompanied today by a very big and highly representative Russian leadership team. It includes ministers in charge of various fields, primarily the economic bloc, but not exclusively. We have a great deal to discuss.
I fully agree with your assessment of the positive trends in trade and the economy, which have posted very good growth. Ukraine occupies approximately 6.2% of Russia's trade. That is a very impressive figure.
I believe Ukraine is in the fifth place among our major trade partners, and we will do our best to make a quick recovery from the minor setback we experienced in the first quarter of 2012, as you have said.
I think this should also be one of the subjects we discuss today. Let’s talk about it, analyse the processes that are taking place and the way they are unfolding. I am absolutely confident that this year our results will be as good as last years’, and perhaps even better.
Apart form these issues, we have many other matters of mutual interest. I am referring to a number of major projects that are being planned and which will certainly be realised, I have no doubt about that.
We will work as long as you consider necessary.
Viktor Yanukovych: Thank you.