PRESIDENT PUTIN ON POLITICAL SITUATION IN UKRAINE

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MOSCOW, April 16 (RIA Novosti's Oleg Osipov) - Russian president Vladimir Putin met with Ukraine's presidential chief of staff Viktor Medvedchuk. Russia's presidential chief of staff Dmitry Medvedev attended the meeting.

"We attentively follow the developments in Ukraine and hope that all the plans will be realized," Vladimir Putin said at the beginning of the talk.

The head of the Russian state asked Medvedchuk how he assesses the political situation in Ukraine prior to the presidential elections scheduled for October 31, and a constitutional process as a whole.

Medvedchuk thanked Putin for support: "Thank you for support, we feel it and hope that our relations will continue to develop in the same spirit," he said.

Speaking about the constitutional reform, he said that the situation in Ukraine remains tense but reforms will continue.

"The failure of the parliamentary majority forces (we lacked six votes) on April 8 when we could not introduce amendments to the Constitution (to elect the president not by the voting of all people by secret ballot but by parliament) did not stop them. The decision adopted is to continue the political reform," the Ukraine's presidential chief of staff reported.

He also said that at the session of the parliamentary majority two days ago "all participants supported the idea that the political reform in Ukraine will continue and will be completed before the presidential elections in October." This is the first symbolic decision," Medvedchuk continued. "And the second symbolic decision is to nominate a single candidate to the post of the Ukrainian president - prime minister Viktor Yanukovich," he continued.

"This is a mature and fundamental position of the parliamentary majority and I think it will be successfully realized, at least we want it," Medvedchuk said.

Vladimir Putin expressed hope for the continuity of the policy to be pursued by the Ukrainian leaders.

"You know our stand: among the priority directions work with Ukraine is the main and most important for us," the head of the Russian state said.

"We will accept any decision of the Ukrainian people, will work with any Ukrainian leadership," Putin pointed out, "but we would like the continuity to be preserved in the future." "We understand that the situation in Ukraine is difficult today, and we will do the utmost to preserve the level of relations which was reached in recent years," the Russian president declared.

Putin noted that he is maintaining permanent contacts with Leonid Kuchma and during the recent telephone conversation they agreed to continue the dialogue.

The president stressed that he would like to discuss with the Ukraine's presidential chief of staff "the format within which we could continue our dialogue."

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