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    Putin, Tymoshenko to meet on June 28

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    Russia's premier and his Ukrainian counterpart will meet in Moscow on June 28 to discuss energy cooperation, NATO enlargement and Russia's Black Sea Fleet, a Russian government spokesman said Tuesday.

    MOSCOW, June 24 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's premier and his Ukrainian counterpart will meet in Moscow on June 28 to discuss energy cooperation, NATO enlargement and Russia's Black Sea Fleet, a Russian government spokesman said Tuesday.

    Vladimir Putin and Yulia Tymoshenko last met in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, in late May, when they announced their countries' readiness to launch talks on a strategic agreement for Russian natural gas supplies to Ukraine.

    "During negotiations involving the heads of a number of ministries and departments from Russia and Ukraine, [the premiers] are expected to discuss bilateral cooperation in key areas, such as energy, transport, aircraft building, space, the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and others," the spokesman said.

    "Pressing issues, concerning NATO expansion plans, will not be left out either. Certain aspects of the implementation of basic agreements on the Black Sea Fleet are also expected to be considered," he added.

    Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vasyl Kirilich said earlier Tuesday that Russia's Black Sea Fleet would have to leave its base in Sevastopol by May 29, 2017.

    There have recently been frequent disputes between Russia and Ukraine over the lease of the Sevastopol base. Some senior Russian officials have controversially questioned the status of the port city, transferred from Russia to Ukraine by Nikita Khrushchev in the Soviet era.

    Moscow also staunchly opposes Kiev's NATO membership plans. Ukraine's pro-Western leadership has been pursuing NATO membership since 2004, when President Viktor Yushchenko came to power. Ukraine failed to secure an agreement on a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP), a key step toward joining the alliance, at the organization's summit in April, but was told the decision would be reviewed in December.

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