President Putin views Ukraine as Russia's strategic partner

President Vladimir Putin views Ukraine as Russia's strategic partner.

"Our countries are strategic partners and we must do our utmost to step up bilateral co-operation, which meets the Russian and Ukrainian peoples' vital interests," reads a letter President Putin has forwarded to his Ukrainian counterpart, Leonid Kuchma, to congratulate him on the 60th anniversary of Kiev liberation from Nazi invaders.

"While celebrating this glorious event in the history of our countries, I would like to emphasise the importance of joining efforts for resolving most acute development problems of the present day," reads the letter provided by the Kremlin press office.

"The fascist hordes caused a huge damage to the Ukrainian capital. Hundreds of thousands people were killed or interned, factories, plants and dwelling houses were destroyed. However, those massive damages and manslaughter could not break the Ukrainian people's will to carry on the struggle. The local population, militia and partisans offered an immense support to the Soviet troops that liberated Kiev," says the letter.

"The battle of Kiev is a milestone event for all the peoples of the former USSR, who were fighting heroically against the Nazis. It is the testimony of the commonness of our historic destinies. In the most tragic periods of our history we fought shoulder to shoulder against foreign invaders," wrote the Russian president.

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