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The Russian and Ukrainian presidents took part in one of the stages in the St Petersburg-Moscow-Kiev International Motor Rally

September 17, 2010, Bryansk Region, Sumy Region

Dmitry Medvedev and Viktor Yanukovych took part in a stage of the international motor rally marking 100 years since the first Emperor Nicholas II Prize St Petersburg-Kiev Motor Rally took place.

Mr Medvedev and Mr Yanukovych drove more than 60 kilometres behind the wheels of Pobeda cars (made in 1948 and 1951) from the start of the stage on the Russian side, 26 kilometres from the Ukrainian border, to the finish line in the Ukrainian town of Glukhov.

Taking part in the rally were 16 vintage cars made between 1930 and 1969, and 20 modern cars.

After arriving at the finish line in Glukhov’s central square, the two presidents visited a small exhibition of vintage cars, showing particular interest in a legendary ‘Emka’ (GAZ-M1) model, which was the main car used by senior Red Army commanders during the war years.

The two leaders also spoke with veterans, after which, they laid wreaths at a monument to soldiers who fell in the  Great Patriotic War, and visited the town’s biggest church, the Cathedral of Three Anastasias, built at the start of the eighteenth century.

Mr Medvedev and Mr Yanukovych later shared their impressions of the cross-border motor rally with journalists.

Question: Right away a question for both presidents. How do you like Ukrainian roads, what was your impression of the motor rally generally, and what would you say about your participation in it?

President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych: I want to say that naturally roads cannot be repaired before the presidents' arrival; first and foremost we need all roads to be as we saw them today. At the very beginning Mr Medvedev and I agreed that we are not going to talk about bad things: we came to Glukhov to prove that we have very serious intentions regarding our internal and foreign policies. 

And to start with we need to do everything to make sure that our borders are as comfortable as possible for our citizens and that they simply contribute to order. Of course there must be roads too – and there will be, I'm sure of that, because we are thinking about how to improve our economies, complement and help one another. And this will boost our economies, enrich our people, and make our countries stronger. And so it happened that first Mr President welcomed me to Bryansk – I travelled there – and now we are welcoming the President of Russia here, to the famous historic city of Glukhov.

Please go ahead.

President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: We are not even giving a press conference here, rather an address. I would first of all like to thank all those who gathered here today.

Thank you very much for this meeting.

This truly is a symbol of our friendship. And in fact such feelings cannot be faked, made up or rehearsed. Our people truly desire to develop together and to live together, to help each other. And all that we've done today is directed towards that goal.

Today with Mr Yanukovych we really did drive cars, and took a look at both Russian and Ukrainian roads. There are things to do in both countries. The roads must be improved. As the President of Ukraine rightly said: ”Not for presidential visits, but so that they function properly, round-the-clock.“

But maybe that is not the main point. The main thing is that we are meeting here, in ancient Glukhov, and will discuss how to nurture our friendship. To be friends you need to have normal channels of communication: not only roads but also the possibility of peacefully crossing the border without any trials, rudeness or problems, especially when it comes to such close fraternal peoples as ours. And we are going to talk about this again today when we hold a small meeting. And then I want to take Mr President back with me to Russia where we will continue to discuss various issues in Russian-Ukrainian relations and simply everything. We will talk about the economy, social sphere, culture, humanitarian cooperation – simply talk about how to make the lives of our people better, more peaceful, more affluent, in short how to allow us all to live a normal life. This is the purpose of my visit.

Once again I would sincerely like to thank you for such a fantastic meeting. To be honest, I did not expect to see almost the whole city here and I'm told it is not just the city: there are representatives here from other towns in the Sumy Region. So thank you for everything, it was very nice.

Question: Could you tell us why you chose the car Pobeda to drive in the rally? And what did you think about driving this car?

Viktor Yanukovych: I can tell you as a long-standing driver that Mr Medvedev and I could not have chosen another car. Mr. Medvedev sparked my desire to drive this car when I was his guest. And all this happened the day before we celebrated Victory Day, its anniversary. And we agreed at that time, already in early spring, that we would participate in this rally and we'd start the presidents' trip in Russia and drive to Ukraine. And our representatives, lovers of vintage cars, members of various non-governmental organisations from both Ukraine and Russia, would drive further and promote all the ideas that we voiced at our very first meeting.

We need our good-neighbourly relations trickle down and be felt by the people of Ukraine and Russia. This means we must do everything possible to improve our economies, to make our humanitarian spheres correspond to expectations, and for people to feel comfortable in our countries.

And I think they will.

Dmitry Medvedev: Mr President already said everything. This is our shared victory, and this is what our cars symbolize. And what I see written everywhere and what I hear from all parties is absolutely right: Russia and Ukraine together.

September 17, 2010, Bryansk Region, Sumy Region