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    MOSCOW, January 23rd, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent) - Russian-Ukrainian co-operation will open the way to Europe for Ukraine, Vyacheslav Igrunov, director of the international institute of humanitarian and political research and chairman of the public council of the Russian-Ukraine co-operation, said at a RIA Novosti press conference.

    In his words, Russian-Ukrainian rapprochement is a key issue of the two countries' geopolitical dynamics.

    The expert noted that the two countries' relations had recently improved, and this "seems alarming to overseas friends." "Earlier, the United States claimed that the former Soviet republics were not the zone of its interest. But now it is blocking Russia's attempts to establish its influence there and pointing out to Ukraine that it should not encourage Russia's imperial ambitions," the political scientist said.

    In his opinion, Russia and Ukraine "are developing at a satisfactory pace today." "However, their economic progress is now based on the raw materials, which will not last long," said the political scientist.

    In this light, Igrunov believes, Russia and Ukraine should develop other economic sectors, in particular modern production spheres, in co-operation with the West."

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