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    RUSSIA INTERESTED IN STRONG AND PROSPECTING UKRAINE

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    MOSCOW, JANUARY 23, 2004. (RIA NOVOSTI). Russia is interested in strong, stable and prospecting Ukraine, said deputy presidential chief of staff Sergei Prikhodko on the eve of President Vladimir Putin's two-day working visit to Ukraine. The President will leave Moscow for Kiev today.

    Prikhodko expressed the hope that "our bilateral relations will not become hostages of the internal political situation in Ukraine." Characterizing the situation in Ukraine, he stressed that "a serious internal political struggle is going on there, which will not stop in the near future." "We are interested in preserving political and economic stability in Ukraine. But it is up to the Ukrainian leadership to choose the means of ensuring it," Prikhodko said.

    At the same time he expressed confidence that "all political processes will go on within the framework of the constitutional field." Commenting on the possibility of turning Ukraine into the parliamentary republic (the parliament will elect the president), Sergei Prikhodko pointed out that "it is not the form of political power that matters but its stability." According to him, it is important for Russia that Ukraine be a strong, stable and prospecting state. "Any hesitations adversely affect our agreements, bilateral projects and Russia as a whole," the Kremlin representative pointed out.

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