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    Medvedev hopes to sign important documents during visit to Ukraine

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    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said he hopes to sign a set of documents on cooperation during his two-day visit to Ukraine that kicks off Monday.

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said he hopes to sign a set of documents on cooperation during his two-day visit to Ukraine that kicks off Monday.

    "These are a number of agreements being developed and coordinated now. They concern production and energy cooperation, as well as cooperation in humanitarian exchanges, in interregional and international problems," Medvedev told Ukrainian media on Sunday.

    The Russian leader said agreements on Black Sea security, settlement in Moldova's breakaway region of Transdnestr and European security issues could also be signed.

    Transdnestr has been considered a "frozen conflict" zone since a brief war in 1992, which was the culmination of tensions between Chisinau and Tiraspol following the breakup of the Soviet Union. Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE are mediators in the conflict; the EU and the United States are observers.

    Medvedev proposed drawing up a new pan-European security pact in June 2008, and Russia published a draft of the treaty in November 2009, sending copies to heads of state and international organizations, including NATO. However, world nations have been reluctant to support Russia's initiative.

    This will be Medvedev's second visit to Ukraine since Viktor Yanukovych was elected Ukrainian president in February. Yanukovych has twice visited Russia as the two former Soviet neighbors have remade their relations over the past three months.

    Medvedev also said Moscow and Kiev have recently made important steps to restore "full-fledged, kindhearted, sincere and friendly relations traditional for our countries."

    "This time, I would also like to make the next steps together with President Yanukovych," he said.

    In his first three months in office, Yanukovych has made good on his campaign pledge to conduct a more friendly policy toward Russia than his predecessor, working swiftly to end the bitter disputes that arose under the Western-leaning Viktor Yushchenko.

    In particular, the two countries recently signed an agreement extending the lease on the Russian Black Sea Fleet base in the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol for 25 years after the current lease expires in 2017.

    In return for the lease extension, which may be extended for an additional five years, Ukraine will receive a 30% discount on Russian natural gas worth an estimated $40 billion.

    MOSCOW, May 17 (RIA Novosti)

     

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