Vladimir Putin: Dear Leonid Danilovich,
Ten years of the independence of Ukraine is a momentous and a truly historic date. We in Russia are well aware of its importance and significance. I congratulate all the citizens of Ukraine from the bottom of my heart.
The past 10 years have not been easy for Russia or Ukraine.
Our roots are in Kievan Rus. Our brotherhood is not a legend, but a historical fact. That is why the common future of Russia and Ukraine is the future of two European states that are very close and interconnected.
Today Russian-Ukrainian relations are becoming stable and predictable. Our strategic partnership augurs well not only for the two peoples, but also for the whole Commonwealth, for the united Europe and the world.
Russia has a vital stake in a stable, successful and economically powerful Ukraine: our country needs and values such a neighbour.
Our states are two powers with a huge potential for development and we are jointly responsible for the preservation of peace and stability in Europe, its progress and sustained economic development.
At the turn of the 1990s the choice made by our peoples extended the European space of democracy and freedom, and I would like to stress that.
Our countries have already achieved significant positive results. We have demonstrated that we can come to terms and respect each other’s national interests. During the past ten years we have successfully resolved the problems we have inherited.
But life throws up new questions. One of these is working out joint mechanisms of adaptation to global political and economic processes.
Among other things, our countries are reliable and very promising markets for each other. Today 60% of Ukrainian enterprises are cooperating with Russian ones. Such interdependence, naturally, generates an interest in effective cooperation.
Progress in promoting interaction is obvious: our trade is growing steadily, inter-regional and border ties are developing rapidly and we have fruitful cooperation in such areas as aviation and space.
The business communities, the people of Russia and Ukraine wait for the leaders to give them a green light. So far many ideas, projects and investments are waiting in a queue to be approved by government agencies. But civil, entrepreneurial and cultural initiatives in the end will prevail over bureaucratic barriers.
In spite of all the complexities the cultural, business and friendly contacts between Russians and Ukrainians have never been interrupted and are successfully growing.
I am glad to tell you that we have decided to hold a Year of Ukraine in Russia. Our special relationship and feelings are not for years, they are for centuries.