President Leonid Kuchma of Ukraine said that the further "optimization" of economic ties with Russia is one of the priority tasks facing the Ukrainian authorities. Kuchma delivered the annual message to the Ukrainian Verkhovnaya Rada (parliament) on Tuesday.
President Kuchma said that at the given stage Ukraine and Russia remain to a considerable degree mutually dependent upon each other technologically, that they maintain a ramified system of many-sided ties and seek to make them more active. Leonid Kuchma described settlement of the gas problem as an "undoubted achievement" in the relations between the two states.
President Kuchma noted that in the past few years the relations between Ukraine and Russia began to become more stable and less politicized.
The President specially stressed that Ukrainian-Russian cooperation is becoming more active on mutually advantageous conditions in the sphere of space, in oil refining, metallurgical, machine-building and chemical industries and in ship-building. Leonid Kuchma described the process of the expansion of regional ties as positive, too.
The president of Ukraine declared that stable partner relations with Russia are an organic component of Ukraine's integration into Europe.
Europe which is panic-stricken over the consequences of rising energy and food prices could strike a treacherous blow to Ukraine this winter, writes Simon Tisdall for The Guardian.