Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma will participate in the Russian-Ukrainian Business Forum which opened yesterday in Kharkov, a Ukrainian city. The two leaders will take part in the plenary session on Friday. The Russian president's press secretary, Alexei Gromov, told RIA Novosti that during their stay in Kharkov, the two leaders would visit the Kharkov State Aviation Enterprise and some of its facilities. A meeting between Presidents Putin and Kuchma is also on the agenda. Speaking at the forum opening ceremony, the head of the Russian Union of Manufacturers and Entrepreneurs (RCPP), Arkady Volsky, said that the Business Forum was designed to create "a sound basis" for cooperation between Russia and Ukraine. He stressed that "progress in cooperation" between the two countries was already obvious. "A real breakthrough in the relations can be seen," Mr. Volsky stressed. He believes that Russian-Ukrainian cooperation in industrial production and the energy, gas, aviation, and missile fields has bright prospects. Mr. Volsky also said that over 70 joint ventures between Russia and Ukraine had already been set up and put into operation. About 300 representatives from large businesses in Russia have arrived in Kharkov. Two hundred businessmen are representing Ukraine. A number of cooperation agreements in various fields are expected to be signed at the forum.
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