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    Medvedev, Yanukovych ride in Soviet-era car, visit chapel in Moscow

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    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev met on Monday with his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych, who is on a private visit to Moscow, for the second time in five weeks.

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev met on Monday with his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych, who is on a private visit to Moscow, for the second time in five weeks.

    Yanukovych reportedly arrived in Moscow to attend the baptism of his former schoolmate's grandson. Earlier, the deputy head of the presidential administration, Anna German, said no meetings with Russia's leadership were planned during Yanukovych's stay in the Russian capital.

    Yanukovych was elected Ukraine's president in this past February's runoff. He assumed office on February 25, replacing Viktor Yushchenko whose presidency saw Ukraine-Russia relations deteriorate.

    The new Ukrainian leader reiterated his intentions to improve ties between Kiev and Moscow during his official visit to the Russian capital in early March.

    During Monday's meeting in Gorki, Medvedev's residence outside Moscow, the Russian president took his Ukrainian counterpart for a drive in his white Soviet-era Pobeda car. The two leaders also visited a chapel, as the meeting took place amid Easter celebrations.

    The Russian president's press secretary, Natalia Timakova, told RIA Novosti Medvedev and Yanukovych were expected to discuss issues of bilateral relations during an informal dinner.

    Earlier on Monday, Yanukovych met with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and visited the grave of cosmonaut Georgy Beregovoy in the Novodevichye cemetery.

    Yanukovych's press secretary earlier said the president was going to honor "the memory of a man who played a significant role" in his life.

    During his election campaign, Yanukovych had to defend himself from critics over his two Soviet-era convictions on assault charges.

    In the 1970s, Beregovoy, then a deputy of the U.S.S.R. Supreme Soviet, successfully pushed for Yanukovych's convictions to be formally erased from the records.

    GORKI, April 5 (RIA Novosti)

     

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