President Vladimir Putin: Good evening,
I spoke with the Ukrainian President just two days ago and he informed me that you arranged a meeting with the Russian Prime Minister. I hope that your meeting today was productive. He asked that I meet with you, and this is, of course, normal practice in our relations. I would like to say once again that Russia seeks to develop the closest possible relations in all areas, above all in the economy, of course, with what is without any exaggeration as fraternal a country as Ukraine.
The President and I also agreed that after the Ukrainian Government has been formed, we will call a meeting of the commission that we chair together to discuss the strategic vision of relations between our two countries. Today we have the opportunity to discuss current matters too. I am very pleased to see you.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich: Thank you, Vladimir Vladimirovich. I am very grateful to you for inviting me to this meeting, and I am pleased that our relations continue as normal despite the as yet still fairly unclear political situation in Ukraine. We consider the situation to be stable and we think that it will certainly be stable as regards our relations with Russia. We are sure of this. We will ensure stable government within our country and stable relations with our strategic partner, with Russia and its fraternal people.
I would like to say how satisfied I was with my meeting today with the Russian prime minister, Viktor Zubkov. We reached full agreement on continuing the work that began 18 months ago by establishing the Intergovernmental Commission, which has done a lot to stabilise trade and economic relations between our countries.
Of course, we have more ambitious plans, and we can carry them out if we work together at the highest political level, if the presidents of our two countries work together. The Intergovernmental Commission opens the way for the Ukrainian and Russian Governments to settle many questions. The results are already visible. Within the framework of the Intergovernmental Commission we have set up 11 sub-committees, which have been working together very closely for 18 months now, and the result is an increase of around 30 percent in the trade balance between our countries. This year, our bilateral trade will reach a figure of around $30 billion for the first time.
We are happy with our relations, happy to see that they are developing in a range of economic sectors, including in priority sectors such as the energy sector. We have achieved some very important results in the fuel and energy sector. Today, we once again underscored the stability of our relations and our commitment to integrating the Ukrainian and Russian economies.
You gave a correct assessment of the matter that has come up, calling it a commercial matter. But at the same time, our state policy should help ensure that commercial settlements always be carried out in disciplined fashion and in such a way that does not infringe on the interests of our countries.
This is why we signed an agreement today regulating this very issue, and I can say that the signature of these documents has provided us with a mechanism for settling the so-called debt issue.
We think that this agreement is a result of the fact that we fully trust each other and realise how we should build our relations in such important sectors as the gas sector, for example.
Vladimir Putin: Viktor Fyodorovich, I am very pleased that our companies and our governments have been able to settle this issue. It came as a complete surprise to us that such a debt – around 1.3 billion – had accumulated. But I will not go into all the details now. I am pleased to see that you have found a solution to this problem. As far as I know, it has been decided that Gazprom will gain ownership rights to a certain volume of gas stored in reservoirs on Ukrainian territory. But we need to remember, and I want our Ukrainian colleagues to know this, that this gas that you have will be supplied above all to Ukrainian consumers. I ask you to ensure that all the government agencies and companies keep this in mind, for the gas supplied will be to a large extent not gas delivered through the pipeline system from Russia in line with the agreed schedule, but gas that has to be pumped up from the underground reservoirs.