President Vladimir Putin: I spoke this morning with Viktor Andreyevich [President of Ukraine Yushchenko] and pass on his greetings.
Prime Minister of Ukraine Yury Yekhanurov: Thank you. I also just spoke with him on the way here.
Vladimir Putin: First of all I would like to congratulate you on your appointment to this high office and responsible post, especially now, at what is a complicated time for Ukraine.
Russia very much hopes that you will be able to help the President [of Ukraine] consolidate society and will successfully overcome the negative tendencies that have begun to emerge in the Ukrainian economy. We know that GDP growth has suffered a noticeable drop and that there are other difficulties of a systemic nature, but you are someone with experience and, as I see it, someone who can work effectively.
We very much hope that you will succeed in reversing this situation and not only maintain the level of cooperation that has developed between Russia and Ukraine over recent years, but will give its development a new boost. Our countries cooperate very closely and the social well being and economic situation of millions of people both in Ukraine and in Russia depend on how well we can work together, above all in the economic sphere. Many companies in Russia and in Ukraine cannot work and function effectively without cooperation, after all, and these relations, this interaction, is very far-reaching and took shape over a period of decades. Moreover, as you know well, some companies were created as what effectively functioned as a single whole within the Soviet economy.
I very much hope that you will succeed in resolving all these issues and we, for our part, will do everything we can to work with you and help.
The President [of Ukraine] and I discussed today solutions to some social issues, including the question of border crossings. We agreed to establish joint border checkpoints along the border between our countries. I think that this is very important not just because it will enable people to lead more normal lives in the border regions, which is in itself an important task, but also because it will help us pave the road for continued improvement of our economic cooperation.