President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych: Mr President,
I am pleased to welcome you, to see you in Kiev. I know it’s been a long time since your last visit here. We have repeatedly talked about the good memories you have about Kiev in your life — in your younger years, and later. And now we have our seventh meeting. It’s a good number, and it’s important that it should mark some sort of a start, meaning that you will be visiting Kiev more often. This is very important.
With regard to our today’s meeting, we have managed to find in this short period of time mutually acceptable solutions that meet not only the national interests of our countries, but also correspond to the sentiments the Ukrainian and Russian peoples have. People have waited for a long time to see our countries do away with the complicated tone in our relations. It is very important.
I think that today we will continue our constructive, fruitful and friendly dialogue that will allow us to take, I would say, steps that correspond to the current stage of our countries’ development. I think we must first of all discuss measures to fight the financial crisis, since we can still feel its consequences in our countries, both in Ukraine and in Russia, and also discuss everything that concerns various spheres of life in our countries — industry, and of course trade and economic relations. Today, our producers feel that the barriers have actually been lifted, and that trade has begun to grow.
I have gathered a lot of material during these days (there was some time, as they say, to dig deeper into history, check the data, especially for the past five years), and to my surprise, I saw that during these four months, trade turnover is one and a half times higher and stands at approximately 7 billion dollars. And what does that mean? It means that we are already targeting a figure over 35 billion. Speaking of annual turnover, this figure will exceed 35 billion and will be closer to 40 billion. This is very good.
The fact that both Ukraine and Russia have made certain decisions recently and have lifted restrictions on many fronts would give an extra impetus. I hope that tomorrow we will be give very good signals to our business communities, which are quite frank and open in saying: ”If no one gets in our way, we will do what’s best for both Ukrainian and Russian economy.“
Of course, I listened to your interview. You said that in absence of state support, the bureaucrats will never miss a chance, as they say, to interfere. But I think we have enough resolve to remove these barriers on our way to democracy. But being serious, I think that we will work to create the right kind of environment on both sides.
So, I am happy to welcome you, despite the rain that spoiled the weather a little bit, but people say – and Internet users already post their opinions and assessments of the beginning of your visit – people say that rain always brings money. Well, we’ll see.
President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr President,
True, I have told you and the media on several occasions that it’s been really a long time since my last visit to Kiev, and I really missed it. Kiev is the capital of the country closest to us, a very beautiful city. It’s Ukraine’s political and economic centre. And, of course, it’s only logical to start a new relationship and restore our full-fledged good-hearted relations with an official visit to the capital of Ukraine.
As for the weather, you gave one version, I could offer another. You know very well, it is very good to turn over a new leaf, I mean leave behind some complicated moments we have had in our relations in recent years. I hope that the rain has washed away all the negative things of the past and has given us a solid, clean foundation for developing full-fledged, good-hearted and friendly relations between our nations.
It is true that you and I have met six times recently. This is our seventh meeting. This maximum intensity of contacts means just one thing: we met little until recently and there’s much to be done, clearing these logjams and creating modern, pragmatic but also friendly relations between our nations. This is what I sincerely hope for, and this is why the schedule of my visit is so busy – a meeting in a restricted format, one-on-one, then a meeting in extended format, then a meeting of the Interstate Commission, which has not met in a long time, and later we will go and see many interesting places in Kiev. And, of course, we will also have informal talks, because a lot depends on the personal relations between the leaders, and our countries should have a very close relationship.
So another opportunity to meet and talk so openly, informally, is always very useful, because this is the time (by the way we have been communicating for a long time, in different situation and holding different offices) when meetings and talks like this produce some very good ideas that subsequently turn into arrangements and agreements between states and benefit our nations and our peoples. Indeed, we have been able to achieve something even within this short period of time.
In an interview I’ve given to your leading television channels, I said that, indeed, trade turnover has increased considerably of late. And I credit that not only to the fact that our economies have started to recover from the crisis. You mentioned the figure of 7 billion dollars, which is almost twice as high as the figure for the same period last year. Our trade with other countries has also increased, but there is no two-fold increase with anyone.
This means that is a real revival of trade, a real revival of business ties. And, of course, this is significantly due to the fact that now the Ukrainian state has a new administration, a new leadership, and it is easier for us to talk, to resolve a whole range of perhaps the most complicated problems.
Tomorrow we will continue our discussions with business community. Business is always alert when it comes to signals from the top and the statements the leaders make. Therefore, the business climate between our countries will depend a great deal on how convincing we will sound tomorrow. And what do we all want? We have discussed this with you on many occasions. We really do want a full-fledged, extensive, strategic relationship between our two nations. And if tomorrow we set the right tone, and I have no doubts that we will, then our business communities, our business forum will get the corresponding signals from both leaders. I also think it is very important.
I also think it is important that we, the leaders of two neighbouring countries, keep in touch with and talk to our civil societies. Because the climate in civil society determines to a large extent the microclimate between our two nations. In this context, I think it's important to communicate with the intelligentsia, the political elite, the cultural elite, as well as with students. This should be done in line with our ideas for full restoration of relations between Russia and Ukraine.
Therefore, I sincerely thank you for the invitation to come to Ukraine on an official visit. Indeed, this is a long-awaited visit for us, and, I hope, for our Ukrainian partners. I look forward to constructive and friendly talks.