Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon.
You know a visit was paid to Ukraine recently, where a series of documents were signed and talks were held with our Ukrainian counterparts practically on every aspect of our cooperation. The visit was well organised and well received. Our Ukrainian colleagues have done a great deal in the economy recently, and I think it would be right if our economic experts were to take a look at what is happening in Ukraine and its economy, remembering that we have a special relationship with it and very extensive coproduction links.
Our trade has considerably grown and continues to grow. We should bear this in mind as we align our relations and build a Common Economic Space – something sought by our colleagues who can now see that this is wise in economic terms. We have no other intentions.
The Foreign Ministry must step up its efforts to ensure that the two parliaments simultaneously ratify the Azov-Kerch treaties, and treaties on the border in general, and on a common economic space. The Ukrainian President and I have agreed on this. I, for one, ask you to prevent any missteps on Russia’s part.
Tomorrow, a State Council presidium will meet to consider social security for pensioners. There are almost 30 million elderly people in Russia. You know matters are critical in that sphere. In the past few years, we have taken some important steps to improve the well-being of elderly people, but there are still many problems. We agreed to discuss them at the meeting so that the Council could take an overall look at them and make its recommendations to the Government. This year, despite all good trends outside the country, we should not forget matters that remain unsolved in this field. I will not go into the subject in detail now. There will be an opportunity tomorrow. Let’s discuss this at length at the Council.