Kuchma urged the two nations to give up their old stereotypes about each other. In the modern-day world, Russia and Ukraine change much faster than stereotypes about them do, he remarked.
Relations between the two have not developed smoothly in recent years, Kuchma said. Last fall, for instance, saw a territorial dispute over Tuzla, in the Kerch Strait. But the governments of Russia and Ukraine managed to overcome the controversy in a civilized way, as befit good neighbors. After a decade of fruitless talks, they were finally able to reach a compromise on the use and the legal status of the Azov Sea and the Kerch Strait, the Ukrainian President pointed out.