#6 - JRL 7167
RUSSIA, UKRAINE MAINTAIN UNIQUE RELATIONS
YALTA, MAY 5, 2003, /RIA-NOVOSTI CORRESPONDENT/ -- Relations between Russia and Ukraine are something unique, President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation said here May 4.
Putin made this statement, while taking a walk with reporters along the famous river-side of Yalta, i.e. a Crimean resort. Our countries are closely linked by their common history, Putin stressed. The destiny of many Ukrainians is linked with Russia; moreover, quite a few Russian citizens link their own destiny, as well as that of their near and dear with Ukraine, the Russian head of state added. We should face these facts, also building upon our relations in line with unconventional methods, the President of Russia went on to say.
The Russian leader thanked his Ukrainian counterpart Leonid Kuchma for inviting him to Yalta and for an opportunity to chat in an informal setting. Talking on behalf of the entire Russian delegation, Putin said he was greatly satisfied with this visit.
For his own part, Kuchma voiced satisfaction over the fact that Putin, who is a very busy man, found several days for his Crimean visit. According to Kuchma, both leaders discussed all issues without exception in an informal manner. Kuchma once again said that he was satisfied with the latest talks, also assuring those present that there could be no alternative to intensifying relations with Russia, which is Ukraine's strategic partner. The President of Ukraine said he was interested in holding permanent political consultations, that he wanted to expand economic contacts and to solve the problem of establishing a common economic infrastructure, as well.