Russian, Ukrainian ties unique, says Putin

08:44, April 23, 2010      

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Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Thursday that relations between Moscow and Kiev are "an exceptional case."

He also urged other countries not to request similarly to Russia, especially concerning the sector of natural gas.

"We have very many partners in the energy sphere. The Crimea is an exceptional case, it so happened historically," Putin said at a government meeting. "I'm asking our partners not to worry on this account and not to make similar requests of us."

On Wednesday in the eastern Ukrainian city Kharkiv, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych signed deals on gas prices and the Black Sea Fleet.

Russia agreed to give Ukraine a significant discount on the price of imported gas in exchange for an extension of the right to base its Black Sea Fleet in Ukrainian territory.

Putin said Russia and Ukraine have established a special relationship based upon mutual trust and assistance, which could not be simply reflected by issues of natural gas or military fleet.

Such relations would serve as the basis for the two countries to further advance their mutual cooperation on economy, society and even politics, the prime minister said.

According to the agreement, Ukraine will receive a discount of 100 U.S. dollars per 1,000 cubic meters on natural gas, if the price is not below 330 dollars. But if the price goes below 330 dollars, the discount will stand at 30 percent.

In return, Ukraine will extend the lease of Russia's Black Sea Fleet on its Crimean peninsula by 25 years, with an option to lengthen the agreement by five more years after the new term expires. The current lease expires in 2017.

Putin said the discount would mainly be realized by "canceling the export customs duties" for Ukraine, and thus Russian gas monopoly Gazprom would not be affected.

He also said that Russia has no plans to build new military facilities in other countries, and will pay higher rent for its naval base in the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol in hard cash starting from 2017.

Source: Xinhua


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