Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the Russian-Ukrainian relations had significantly advanced, especially in the sphere of economy. The Russian head of state thanked the Ukrainian President and parliament for ratification of the agreement in the field of energy. This document, Putin said, will create a good legal base not only in the energy sphere. "The gas issues have always been a bone of contention." "But we have achieved a consensus as a result of long work," the Russian President said. Putin mentioned that the inauguration ceremony of the Year of Ukraine in Russia was due to take place Thursday. "We want it to help development of the two countries' relations based on our common history", Putin said. Kuchma said, in his turn, that "virtually no problematic issues" remained in the Russian-Ukrainian relations". According to him, "there are questions to be resolved, and we resolve them instead of putting them off". He said an example of this approach was solution of the energy issue. Kuchma added that he planned to visit some Russian regions and communicate with Russian businessmen within the framework of the Year of Ukraine. In connection with this, he asked President Putin to hold the Year of Ukraine in Russian regions, as well as in Moscow. Putin suggested that issues of bilateral cooperation in aerospace industry and high technologies be discussed too. Among the Russian participants in the negotiations are Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko, deputy head of the Kremlin administration Sergey Prikhodko, and Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Viktor Chernomyrdin.
The remarks from the Pope came as "a very strong step towards degradation," "given the rather massive nature of homosexuality" among the Catholic clergy.