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Russia, Ukraine presidents discuss energy, Black Sea Fleet
Published in Saudi Press Agency on 05 - 03 - 2010


Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych met in the Kremlin today to
discuss energy issues and the status of the Black Sea Fleet, dpa reported.
It was Yanukovych's first official visit to Russia, and second
trip abroad, since his inauguration as Ukraine's President on
February 21.
Medvedev, at a post-meeting press conference said he and
Yanukovych "had agreed to continue talks" between the two countries
on the status of Russia's Black Sea Fleet, which is based in the
Ukrainian port city Sevastopol.
Yanukovych at the same press conference predicted Kiev and Moscow
would agree to extend a Russia's lease on naval basing rights in
Sevastopol, scheduled to run out in 2017.
"I think that very soon we will receive a resolution (to talks on
the naval basing treaty) that will suit both Ukraine and Russia,"
Yanukovych said. "There are a great number of particulars, this is
what has (still) to be decided."
Former Ukraine president Viktor Yushchenko, Yanukovych's
predecessor, had called for Russia's military to leave Ukraine's
Crimea peninsula as soon as the Kremlin's naval basing lease ran out.
Yanukovych, a pro-Russia politician, has said Ukraine should
continue to offer Russia a naval basing lease, provided the price was
right.
Medvedev, at the same post-talks press conference signaled a shift
in Russian media policy towards Ukraine, saying the Kremlin would -
as had not in the past - allow Ukrainian-language television
programming to reach viewers via Russia's state-run media.
"I will speak with the managers of our media," Medvedev said at
the press conference. "There will be transmissions across the entire
country."
Yanukovych, in remarks prior to the meetings with Medvedev, said
"introducing a sharp turn to the better in relations between Russia
and Ukraine," was the main goal of his visit.
A politician closely linked to oligarchs running Ukraine's energy-
intensive steel and chemical industries, Yanukovych during his
election campaign said Kiev should renegotiate a natural gas trade
contract with Moscow to reduce the current price paid by Ukraine for
Russian gas: 305 dollars per 1,000 cubic metres.
The Yanukovych delegation was likely to propose Russia cut the
price by some 50 per cent, according to a Kommersant magazine report.
A dispute between Kiev and Moscow on natural gas pricing broke
ended in a three-week Russian blockade of exports to Ukraine,
sparking downstream shortages as far away as Spain.


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