MOSCOW, August 24 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated his Ukrainian counterpart Leonid Kuchma on the national holiday, the Independence Day, the Kremlin press service reported.

"The Russian Federation considers Ukraine a close and reliable partner. Our relations have been always based on strategic partnership, respect and trust in all affairs and projects. This is the will of our people," reads Vladimir Putin's telegram.

The Russian leader pointed out permanent development of many-sided Russian-Ukrainian ties based on rich cooperation experience. "We adhere to principles of mutual benefit, current and long-term interests of the consolidation of bilateral cooperation. It has favorable influence on the solution of priority political and socio-economic problems in Russia and Ukraine," the Russian President stressed.

According to him, Russian-Ukrainian cooperation on key international problems promotes European security and increases our international authority.

Humanitarian cooperation is another important element of the Russian-Ukrainian strategic partnership, Vladimir Putin said adding that the use of its rich potential fully meets interests of both countries.

"I am satisfied with the active development of trade and economic relations based on market economy and pragmatism principles. Our countries are being involved in major international projects in energy, transport, space and aircraft building spheres," runs the Russian President's telegram.

"Moreover, the Common Economic Space is being successfully formed. The implementation of this integration project yields tangible results and leads to trade turnover growth and cooperation links consolidation," Vladimir Putin emphasized.

"Our regular contacts, including the joint meeting with businessmen in Yalta prove that business circles are being involved in Russian-Ukrainian economic relations. We are also developing investment cooperation," the Russian President concluded.

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