Ukraine plans to develop good relations with Russia, but sees its future in Europe, President Viktor Yanukovych wrote in an article published on Friday.
"Despite difficulties, the key step has been made: we have finally made up our mind with our future. The European choice has become the basis of Ukraine's foreign political identity, and European values the basis of our development," Yanukovych said in the Ukrainian newspaper Zerkalo Nedeli Ukraine.
The Ukrainian leader said he is convinced his country will become an EU member "in about ten years," but added that European progress is "impossible without good, neighborly relations with Russia."
Russia is concerned about Ukraine's European integration attempts and has offered its neighbor a gas price rebate to persuade Kiev to approve a merger of Russian energy giant Gazprom and Ukraine's national energy company Naftogaz.
The move has been opposed by the Ukrainian authorities, who say this would undermine Ukraine's sovereignty.
Experts in Ukraine and abroad have warned that Kiev's bid for European integration could face problems due to the ongoing trial of ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko.
Tymoshenko is facing abuse of office charges over the signing of a 2009 gas contract with Russia that the current Ukrainian authorities say is disadvantageous. Tymoshenko and her supporters say the charges are politically motivated.