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Vladimir Putin:"Ever closer contacts will link Russia to Ukraine in the gas sphere"
Ever closer contacts will link Russia to Ukraine in the gas sphere, expects Russia's President Vladimir Putin. Last year's Russian gas exports to Western Europe via Ukraine exceeded 100 billion cubic meters. "This year, we are planning to export 112 billion. Ukraine earned $1.5 billion on gas transits. Not bad, wasn't it? We hope to extend this partnership in the future. "As we heard from our Ukrainian partners, they mean to preserve succession in their policies toward Russia - prospects for a gas-piping consortium included," President Putin said to newsmen following the negotiations with President Victor Yushchenko of Ukraine. The new Ukrainian President, in his turn, thinks his country and Russia ought to join hands for political efforts as a European energy market is emerging. "Russia is unique due to its unique energy potential. Ukraine is unique with unprecedented transport possibilities. All that works for Western consumers, in the final analysis. Proceeding from that, Russia and Ukraine ought to work together for a European energy market to take shape," said Mr. Yushchenko. The two countries' governments will be instructed to advance draft initiatives on how to step up partnership, added President Putin. "There was hardly a single topic we would not have raised while at the negotiation table. As we debated each, we met with the necessity for progress profoundly realized," he said while describing the talks to the media. President Yushchenko spoke up in favor of a United Economic Space Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan are establishing. "We must formalize our contacts with Russia to the utmost where the budding United Economic Space is concerned. "We have not given up its idea but we shall proceed from our national interests, and we want to say so in the practical section [of respective instruments]. United environment principles are not to block Ukraine's road to other markets, and we said so to our Russian partners," he remarked.
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