A grandiose musical performance at the most prestigious concert hall, State Kremlin Palace, opened Thursday the Year of Ukraine in Russia. The event is being held on President Vladimir Putin's initiative and is to mark the tenth independence anniversary of the two largest USSR republics. The Year of Ukraine in Russia is beginning with an arts festival, featuring best Ukrainian theatrical, choreographic and musical groups. Ukrainian artists, long unseen in Russia, will be touring Moscow as well as other cities. The programme also envisages joint round table meetings to be devoted to history and education, an exchange of economic and scientific delegations. "Over these years, we have made serious progress in cooperation in different fields. The Year of Ukraine in Russia will promote friendly ties between the two countries," Ukrainian Vice Premier Vladimir Seminozhenko said in Moscow.