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Meeting of the Russian-Ukrainian Interstate Commission

July 12, 2012, Yalta

Vladimir Putn and President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych took part in the meeting of the Russian-Ukrainian Interstate Commission. The meeting began with a minute of silence in memory of the victims of the Krasnodar Territory floods.

A package of documents was signed following the Commission’s meeting.

In addition, Vladimir Putin and Viktor Yanukovych gave a joint news conference.

* * *

Opening remarks at Russian-Ukrainian Interstate Commission meeting

President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych: Colleagues,

Before we begin, I would like to call for a moment of silence in connection with the tragic consequences of the large-scale flooding in Krasnodar Territory, which resulted in the loss of many lives.

(Moment of silence.)

Colleagues, Mr Putin,

We are happy to welcome you to sunny Crimea. I see that everyone is prepared to work productively and I am certain that we have much to discuss, especially since this meeting was scheduled long ago and we have been looking forward to it.

I also believe that the Interstate Commission format we have designed provides an opportunity to analyse the state of our bilateral relations development, to sum up positive practices, exchange views on many current issues and find solutions to difficult problems that are constraining our cooperation in various areas.

I am certain that we should adjust some aspects of our cooperation, taking into account current realities and the outcomes of implementing decisions made during the Commission’s previous meeting. We must also determine application points in our joint efforts aimed at promoting further dynamic, stable development in Ukrainian-Russian dialogue on the basis of strategic partnership.

Mr Putin, colleagues,

Our relations are developing in a special atmosphere of mutual trust, respect and understanding, but also, realism and pragmatism. That is exactly the kind of approach that allows Ukraine and Russia to seek out reasonable compromises and constructively resolve issues that arise. Direct and open dialogue at the top level certainly holds an important place in the system of Russian-Ukrainian cooperation. Mr Putin and I agreed that we will soon make state visits: the President of Ukraine will visit Russia this fall, the President of Russia will visit Ukraine in 2013, and we will jointly discuss the timing for the visits.

Every meeting between heads of state within the framework of the Commission results in productive talks addressing the full range of issues in our bilateral interactions. This includes agreements aimed at achieving strong results. I would like to emphasise that according to the 2011figures, we reached a record level of mutual trade of over 55 billion US dollars. This is, without a doubt, a very serious result.

It is imperative that we not only maintain this positive momentum, but also bolster our results. At the same time, we must accelerate the highly necessary modernisation of our national economies and raise the competitiveness of our products on global markets.

I am certain that we should without delay take steps to achieve more tangible results in implementing joint projects in aircraft engineering. To this end, we have already done a great deal of work in the fields of air and space, nuclear energy, and transport infrastructure.

I would like to stress that an important aspect of this work is mutual advantage and economic pragmatism. So we will discuss all of these issues today.

Mr Putin, I invite you to take the floor, and then we will continue to flesh out a full range of topics and do some analysis, taking into account the work of our governments and the materials they prepared for us.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Yanukovych, friends,

Please allow me to begin by sincerely thanking Mr Yanukovych for his initiative to meet here in Crimea today. Our large Interstate Commission has not gathered in this format in a long time – over two years. There were objective reasons for this. Now, the situation has changed, and indeed, we are prepared to take our level of cooperation to new heights.

An enormous work has been done by our colleagues, including many who are present. On June 27, a meeting between heads of government was held in Kiev and the committee on economic issues prepared a whole set of suggestions and projects that we can and should promote.

Mr Yanukovych already noted that we consider trade and economic cooperation to be most important. We mentioned during a one-on-one conversation, as I already said, that Ukraine plays an important role in Russia’s trade and economic ties and accounts for over six percent – 6.2 percent – of Russia’s overall volume in trade and economic ties.

This is a lot, and if we take into account deep cooperation between our industries, we can see that these are not just figures and percentages; indeed, they are evidence of the qualitative coordination between our largest companies and whole sectors of the economy.

Naturally, we will also talk today about our cooperation in the military technology sector; here, too, we have many opportunities. Some very practical work is already underway.

Russia serves as a traditional sales market for military products from many Ukrainian companies, just as some of our sectors depend on our Ukrainian partners.

But we will need to talk about our plans in the military technology sector in great detail, because it affects not just the state of our Armed Forces, but also the state of high-tech sectors of the economy such as aviation, air and space, and shipbuilding.

Granted, each of these matters has its own independent significance, unrelated to military cooperation. In terms of military cooperation, of course, we will also talk about our agreements on the Russian Navy’s presence in Crimea.

The humanitarian component is another important aspect of our joint work. It includes language, culture, cultural exchanges in the broadest sense of the word. I don’t think there is any need for me to tell you how much respect and interest the people of Russia feel toward Ukrainian language, Ukrainian culture and Ukrainian traditions.

We have three million Ukrainians residing in Russia. But this is not just about the three million ethnic Ukrainians. It is about the fact that there are very many friendly personal ties between our nations. If we take into account that those three million Ukrainians in Russia also have spouses and children, than that increases the number at least two- or three-fold. The traditional, historic ties between Russia and Ukraine absolutely necessitate that we give significant attention to those humanitarian aspects.

Ukraine and Russia are very reliable partners in the international arena. In 2013, Ukraine will chair the OSCE and naturally, we would also like to talk about our priorities, to hear about your priorities and to discuss our involvement in the respective activities in light of Ukraine’s vision.

Of course, this is not a full list of the issues that we plan to discuss today.

Thank you for your attention.

July 12, 2012, Yalta