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Official website of the President of Russia

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An Excerpt from Concluding Remarks at a Meeting with Russian and Ukrainian Businessmen

December 22, 2000, Moscow

Vladimir Putin: … Now about energy cooperation. I confirm that there has been a breakthrough in the past few months, in relations between us, settlements, schedules, and so on. That is the first point.

The second point. The fact that certain agreements were reached has changed our European partners’ attitude to Ukraine. This is a factor that not only can and must but also will be taken into account in our efforts to draw up and implement Russia’s cooperation programmes with western European consumers. Of course, we will give thought to and implement plans for building other pipeline systems. You know that a system like the Blue Stream is already in the works. Not only are we discussing it, but we have already embarked on implementing it. We are also thinking about alternative pipeline systems. But this does not mean that the Ukrainian facilities cannot and will not be used. Of course, they can and will. Moreover, I had a conversation with Leonid Danilovich [Kuchma] yesterday, and I think we will also talk with Gazprom’s management. Gazprom knows about all the details and finer points – perhaps a re-engineering of Ukraine’s pipeline system will have to be discussed so that we can not only use it as it is, but also increase its capacity. So when all matters are settled and normal or civilised relations, as the Ukrainian President called them, are established, we will start entering third countries’ markets together: Russia with its product, and Ukraine as an independent participant providing pipeline transport services.

December 22, 2000, Moscow