Source Pravda.Ru

Lavrov said that the relations between the Kremlin and Kiev should be "kept on an ascending path."

Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko told Russia's top diplomat on Monday that the two former Soviet republics should work to ensure that their relationship benefits them both.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov traveled to the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, on Monday in an effort to reshape relations after a new, Western-leaning leadership took office. His visit came on the eve of Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko's trip to Brussels for a summit meeting with NATO leaders.

At the opening of her meeting with Lavrov, Tymoshenko said that the leaders of Russia and Ukraine "should work to make sure that relations between the two countries are mutually beneficial," underlining Kiev's sensitivity to Russia's previous perceived attempts to dictate rather than negotiate policies.

"Fine relations between the two governments should be developed at this meeting," she said.

Lavrov said that the relations between the Kremlin and Kiev should be "kept on an ascending path."

On Sunday, Lavrov said Russia should accept the efforts of former Soviet republics seeking to mold their foreign policies separately from its own and said that Moscow now considers Ukraine and Georgia to be outside its orbit.

"As far as the transformation of these countries from the 'near abroad' to the 'abroad' is concerned, we view them as absolutely sovereign, absolutely equal states in the new geopolitical architecture," Lavrov said in a televised statement.

The statement appeared to suggest that the two countries were no longer among the ex-Soviet republics Russia considers its natural allies, such as Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Russia has watched warily as Ukraine and Georgia have sought to follow in the footsteps of the three Baltic countries, deepening ties with Western organizations such as the European Union and NATO and moving out from under Russia's shadow.

Although he repeatedly said he wants Ukraine to become a full member of the EU and eventually join NATO, Yushchenko has reiterated that "Russia remains an eternal and strategic partner."

Among the issues under discussion by Lavrov and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Borys Tarasiuk will be a free-trade zone, a final resolution of a dispute involving the Kerch Strait connecting the Azov and Black Seas, the status of Russia's Black Sea naval fleet, which is based in the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol, and the two countries' cooperation in the energy sphere, said Markian Lubkivsky, a spokesman for Ukraine's Foreign Ministry.

Russia is Europe's largest single supplier of natural gas, most of which is transported through Ukrainian pipelines.

Lubkivsky also said that Lavrov and Tarasiuk would discuss arrangements for a visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin. No date for the visit has been set.

Comments
Russia starts Star Wars first. USA concerned and puzzled
Russia starts Star Wars first. USA concerned and puzzled
US sanctions to kill Russian banks and sovereign debt?
Turkey and USA take their relationship to breaking point
Iran shows new ICBM that can evade radars
USA and Turkey: The elephant kicks the barking pug aside
Venezuela: Once again, interference from the USA in Latin America
Venezuelan President Maduro: USA fatally obsessed with Russia
Russian government prepares to get rid of US dollar in economy
Russia's long-range Bastion system follows USS Carney in Black Sea waters
Russian government prepares to get rid of US dollar in economy
Russian government prepares to get rid of US dollar in economy
Russian government prepares to get rid of US dollar in economy
Turkey desperately tries to rescue its national currency as it falls to all-time lows
Turkey desperately tries to rescue its national currency as it falls to all-time lows
US sanctions to kill Russian banks and sovereign debt?
Russia builds new robotic tank invulnerable to mines
Russia builds new robotic tank invulnerable to mines
Russia starts Star Wars first. USA concerned and puzzled
Turkey and USA take their relationship to breaking point
US sanctions to kill Russian banks and sovereign debt?