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Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visits Kiev, Ukraine

27. April 2010 by Gregg 0 Comments

Former Russian president and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin made a long-awaited visit to Ukraine’s capital city on April 26th. Prime Minister Putin had previously made a point of avoiding Russia’s neighbor due to political tensions between his administration and the former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko. After the recent election which saw Yushchenko beaten by the decidedly more pro-Russia Viktor Yanukovych, the Russian Premier’s position on Ukraine has decidedly softened.

To mark the occasion of the newly ratified deal between Ukraine and Russia to keep Russia’s Black Sea fleet stationed in Sevastopol, Mr. Putin called a press conference after many extended meetings to discuss the controversial agreement.

Among the topics discussed, the Russian Prime Minister acknowledged that Russia would seek membership in the World Trade Organization and that their supply of gas to Ukraine would increase a great deal as a result of the Black Sea fleet agreement. He also commented on his political relationship with Yulia Tymoshenko – Ukraine’s former Prime Minister during the Yushchenko years. Putin refuted Tymoshenko’s recent claims that he had never exchanged words with her regarding the deal while she was still Ukraine’s Premier, but assured reporters that the deal would not sour his positive working relationship with the still politically influential Tymoshenko.

The Black Sea agreement has caused a wave of protests both inside and outside of the political spectrum of Ukraine. Parliament descended into chaos after the agreement was approved and there have been demonstrations outside their chambers by citizens. The agreement extends the Russians’ lease until 2042.