President Dmitry Medvedev will meet with his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovich later on Thursday in Sochi to discuss the implementation of several bilateral agreements.
It is expected that during the informal talks, particular attention will be given to energy and the Russian Black Sea Fleet in the Crimea. Other economic areas on the agenda will include trade, space cooperation, aviation, ship-building, and agriculture. In addition, the leaders will discuss military partnership between the two states.
Expanding trade and economic ties is one of the top priorities of Russian-Ukrainian cooperation. In the first half of 2011, the trade turnover between the two countries almost doubled and, according to the Kremlin, it may reach 50 billion dollars by the end of the year. Therefore, the creation of a favorable business climate and working out problems related to investment will be given great consideration during the meeting.
Other important issues on the agenda concern preparations for the second Russia-Ukrainian Economic Forum and customs agreements which are supposed to “create more comfortable conditions for citizens while crossing the border”.
Cultural and humanitarian issues are also likely to be touched upon during the talks.
On top of that, Moscow has informed Kiev of its intention to include the arrest of the former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko on the agenda. Tymoshenko has been in custody since August 5 in connection with the so-called “gas case”. She is accused of deliberately signing gas contracts with Russia in 2009 which were unfavorable to Ukrainian economic interests.
It is the second meeting between the two presidents this year. Dmitry Medvedev visited Ukraine in April to take part in a ceremony commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. It was earlier reported that a meeting of the inter-state Russian-Ukrainian commission co- chaired by both leaders was to take place in Moscow this past July, but then this information was later proved to be false. The event will presumably be held in September.