Leonid Kuchma: Speaking for the Ukrainian side, I would like to repeat myself. I am very glad that despite his tight schedule, President Putin has managed to spend a few days in the Crimea, which gave us a chance to talk about everything, and honestly, we have talked about everything that interested us. The talks were very informal, we didn’t even have our closest advisors with us who sometimes prompt things we don’t want. I am very pleased with this meeting. As for the results, as I said the day before yesterday there is no alternative to deepening relations with our strategic partner, the Russian Federation. We are indeed interested in expanding economic links. The situation in the world confirms this idea. We are interested in having permanent political consultations. We are interested in the creation of the Common Economic Space. We are interested in the CIS activities. So I thank Mr Putin. It’s a pity that times flies. Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: The relations between Russia and Ukraine are unique. We have a shared history. Most Ukrainian citizens link their destinies with Russia and many Russian citizens link their personal fates with Ukraine where they have close relatives. This is a fact. Therefore we should build our relations by non-standard means and in non-standard ways. I am very grateful to the Ukrainian President for his invitation and for the opportunity to discuss all the issues of concern to us in an informal way.
We have discussed political interaction above all in the CIS. Mr Kuchma is currently the head of the CIS.
Ukraine and its President have some good initiatives to offer in key areas for the development of our countries, especially in the economy. Of course, we spoke about this in the context of our work on accession into the WTO, both for Ukraine and Russia. We discussed it in the context of harmonising the legislations of Ukraine and Russia in order to be able to work normally with our European partners. Along with harmonising our laws with those of Europe, we intend to work jointly with our colleagues to create the Common Economic Space together with Greater Europe. This will be a major topic at the Russia-EU meeting in St Petersburg on May 31, to which the CIS leaders have been invited, including Mr Kuchma.
We have discussed cooperation between our Defence Ministries. I met the Commander of the Black Sea Fleet yesterday. He told me about the high level of interaction achieved between the Black Sea Fleet and the Ukrainian Navy. Needless to say, it brings us to another important topic: military-technical cooperation, because as you know, the defence systems of Ukraine and Russia are so closely linked that they can only develop separately at a very heavy cost. And conversely, we need close cooperation in order to ensure our defence capabilities, preserve jobs and develop new technologies. We discussed that as well, and I hope that there will be practical progress.
We have discussed many other things; it is impossible to name them all. The Russian delegation is highly satisfied with the results of our work. Thank you.