Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon,
It only remains for me to add that our meeting was planned in advance. The Ukrainian President and I are keeping the promises we gave to our industrialists and business people at a meeting in Moscow in December 2000 and again in St Petersburg. We promised then to meet on Ukrainian soil, to move forward on the problems raised at that time and follow them through to the signing of formal documents. Today we are fulfilling that promise. I go along with the Ukrainian President’s assessments. In our opinion, very important steps have been taken today to further normalise our industrial ties. This company alone has 75 partners in Russia, as the Director-General told me during our talk. In some sectors of the economy Ukrainian companies get 60%-80% of components from Russia and some of our companies receive as much from Ukraine. Both Ukraine and Russia have a vital stake in restoring economic ties and in maintaining and developing them. I think, the Ukrainian President’s assessment of our cooperation and the decisions on energy reached today tally with our opinion about the importance of the step forward that has been taken today. Indeed, after the settlement of the gas problems, energy issues are the most important. But equally large-scale work needs to be done in the field of machine-building. The prospects there are good and we have concrete plans. The documents signed by Ilya Klebanov and his Ukrainian counterpart identify certain areas of activity in the machine-building field, which we believe is just as important. All this gives us grounds to describe this meeting as positive and fruitful. As you see, the Russian mission is represented exclusively by business people. And it has to be noted that the whole of this short visit has been positive, useful and we think very highly of it. Thank you very much for your warm reception.
Question: Mr Putin, what will be the importance of sustained and long-term cooperation between Russia and Ukraine for Europe as a whole? Has the groundwork for such cooperation been laid already?
Vladimir Putin: I cannot say that we have achieved all the goals we have set for ourselves. And today we discussed in restricted format the tasks that we have yet to tackle. Granted, there are still many problems. But some important steps have been made today, including in pursuing our common interests in the markets of third countries. We have discussed in some detail some aerospace projects. A fairly serious step forward has been made in the field of customs and tax regulation for aerospace professionals from both sides. That already means that our producers will get a very good chance to work together in the markets of third countries. Our cooperation in this sphere amounts to 2.5 billion roubles. And if we add the joint Sea Launch project, the amount of work under that project is estimated at $200 million. We have other plans in this sphere. That is one area we have discussed today and I think we have made good progress. Another area is energy cooperation. We have discussed frequently and at length, both in the press and in the expert community, our potential for supplying Russian energy to Western Europe. Previous agreements on gas give grounds to hope that it will be a mutually beneficial project both for Ukraine and for Russia. To remind you, the capacity of our foreign pipelines to move Russian gas to the markets in Western Europe stands at 130 billion cubic metres and the demand is 205 billion. So, when we speak of the need to build new pipeline systems, we mean among other things the reconstruction of the existing networks in Ukraine. But not only that. Anatoly Chubais has signed corresponding documents that not only enable us to cooperate with Ukraine on a bilateral basis, but create conditions for promoting our joint energy product first in Moldova and then in other countries in southern Europe. The outlook in that respect is very favourable.