Vladimir Putin met with the Head of the Political Council of the Ukrainian party Opposition Platform – For Life, Viktor Medvedchuk.
The conversation took place on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum after its plenary meeting.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Medvedchuk, do you like it here [at the Eastern Economic Forum]?
Viktor Medvedchuk: Yes, this is wonderful. I would like to thank you very much for inviting me to the Eastern Economic Forum.
You know, you invited me to attend the International Economic Forum in St Petersburg but Vladivostok is close to my heart because I recall my student years here. I worked here back in the day when there were Soviet construction teams.
Comparing Vladivostok of those years with what it is like today is like comparing heaven and earth. It took me just a few hours to see how Vladivostok has changed, especially, I presume, after 2012. This is tremendous. So, I would like to thank you very much for this invitation.
And my second point. What interests my country – my homeland, Ukraine – are trade and economic developments. As you well know, our party upholds the principle of restoring trade and economic relations with the Russian Federation and other CIS countries. At one time, the Ukrainian economy was oriented to the markets of the Asia-Pacific countries.
Regrettably, this concept has become weaker due to the signing of a free trade zone agreement with the EU, but this is our future – the markets of Russia and the Asia Pacific Region. Therefore, in this context, this forum is very useful, effective and important for me.
Vladimir Putin: Look, Prime Minister Abe is here at the Eastern Economic Forum for the third time running and for you, Mr Medvedchuk, this is the first time …
Viktor Medvedchuk: I will redeem myself if you invite me.
Vladimir Putin:…this is wrong. It is right to come here. I still think, as everyone knows, that the best market for Ukrainian goods is in Russia.
Viktor Medvedchuk: Absolutely.
Vladimir Putin: Although there are, of course, very many interesting partners here. The Asia-Pacific region is seen as a place of interest by Russia and all countries, including Ukraine. All of us realise that this region of the world posts the most rapid economic development rates.
I hope that your stay here was interesting.
Viktor Medvedchuk: This was very interesting and very useful, thank you once again.
Mr President, I would like to thank you: last week, we were allowed to meet with Ukrainian citizens, serving prison terms in the Russian Federation, at Lefortovo prison.
Mr Rabinovich, a fellow member of our party, and I called on Mr Karpyuk and Mr Klykh. These people, who are very famous in Ukraine, were sentenced in the Russian Federation.
Naturally, their relatives are grateful because we did this at their request. These people are grateful because they have been greeted by their homeland, they have received attention and because there are people who are doing everything possible to secure their release if this opportunity ever arises.
Vladimir Putin: I know that you have been doing this for a long time. To be honest, everyone knows that you have been doing this for many years, and this is such a noble and humanitarian mission. One should say that it is also quite successful. Therefore, you very successfully convert our kind attitude into specific humanitarian events and specific deeds.
I believe that people will remember this. Understandably, this is a noble undertaking, although we voice a special position on these two individuals mentioned by you.
Viktor Medvedchuk: Yes.
Vladimir Putin: This is a complicated matter for us. Certainly, we will move in this direction in the near future, just like we had agreed with the incumbent official authorities in Ukraine, and we will jointly announce specific decisions, due to be made.
Viktor Medvedchuk: Thank you very much. The people of Ukraine are expecting you and President Zelensky to resolve this matter.
Vladimir Putin: We are working on it.
Viktor Medvedchuk: Thank you very much.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you for your efforts. And I hope that your stay will be both interesting and successful. Do please come back.