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  Tuesday, December 1, 2020
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The Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministries have agreed to hold regular consultations
According to the concluding document of the joint session of the two countries' boards, the consultations will highlight co-operation within the OSCE, the Council of Europe, and relations with Nato and the EU, including participation in peacekeeping operations, the fight against terrorism, the elimination of the consequences of civil emergencies, and integration processes in the OSCE. The documents also emphasised that further development of partnership between Russia and Ukraine was an essential factor of stability and security in the CIS countries, and the European continent as a whole. The document also says that Russia-Ukraine strategic partnership in the energy sphere, including gas and oil deliveries and transit to the European markets, and co-operation in electric power engineering, have particular importance for Europe's energy security. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters after the joint session of the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministries' boards that Ukraine's aspiration to join Nato did not influence Russia-Ukraine partnership. He recalled that Russia still saw Nato's expansion as "a mistaken move in fostering Europe's security." "Nonetheless, we respect Ukraine's sovereign choice and treat it in the context of our partnership." "We are not going to join the EU and Nato, but Ukraine is. Regardless of the ultimate goals, partnership means that we will never and under no circumstances cause damage to each other and will not support those who can do harm," said Lavrov. The Russian foreign minister remarked that the formation of the common economic space (including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan) and the potential EU membership did not contradict each other. Sergei Lavrov also said, "We believe that our joint potential is not used to the full, and co-operation with European structures can do a lot to ensure Ukraine's and Russia's interests." The minister also said that the session had considered the earlier achieved agreements that "are leading our relations to a new level." "Our relations have entered the level of serious and competent partnership," said Lavrov. He added that the session of the ministries' boards had also considered the Azov-Kerch problems, the legal base and operation of the Russian Black Sea fleet on Ukrainian territory, and humanitarian co-operation. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Konstantin Grishchenko in turn said that Russia and Ukraine had the same short-term interests. "We have different strategic goals: Ukraine wants to integrate into the European structures, and Russia wants to co-operate with European structures. But our short-term interests coincide," he said. The minister also said that "we are really making progress" on all issues that were under discussion by the boards. According to the Ukrainian foreign minister, such joint sessions allow us to point out simultaneously all the political problems where our interests coincide." "Our voice will be stronger when we promote our interests together," said Grishchenko.
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