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Russia - Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Viktor Yanukovych: Good evening, Mr Prime Minister, I am glad to see you. I know that yesterday and today were busy days for you. But you are used to such a work schedule. We have had the same busy schedule recently - Mr Azarov and I have worked long hours, sometimes late at night.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you for making time to meet with me. I have discussed with Mr Azarov our plans for Friday: we want to hold an Intergovernmental Commission. There will be 15 to 18 issues on the agenda, all of them urgent.

I have been thinking of a new project for our countries and I would like to discuss it with you. What is it about?

What I propose is the full-scale cooperation of our nuclear industries. We propose to establish a large holding company to unite nuclear power generating companies, as well as nuclear engineering and fuel cycle enterprises.

If Ukrainian specialists think this proposal is a lot to take on, we are willing to implement it in stages.

For example, the first stage could be the uniting of our efforts in processing the fuel cycle. Our companies in Novosibirsk regularly supply fuel to Ukraine and you have certain field deposits that we are interested in. Your nuclear engineering industry delivers a lot of equipment to the Russian market.

We are interested in developing this cooperation further. As for the nuclear power industry, Ukraine is a distinguished country in Europe: it comes second or third in Europe after France and, if I am not mistake, Belgium. Half of the electricity produced in Ukraine is from nuclear power plants. It is important that these plants, these blocks and units be modernised. You could modernise them more effectively, if you cooperate with Russian companies.

We are interested in more than just cooperation, we are also willing to take an active part, along with our Ukrainian partners, in the modernisation of Ukraine's generating units and to allow our Ukrainian partners to take advantage of the Russian market. We have plans to double nuclear energy production capacity in Russia in the next 10 to 15 years.

We could work together in third party markets, with financial support by the Russian government and Russia's leading financial institutions.

Viktor Yanukovych: An interesting proposal. We had previously discussed this with you and Mr Medvedev during my last, or one of my last visits to Moscow. I have visited Moscow so many times that it is difficult to say which visit - but we talked about it twice.

We want to build plants to produce nuclear fuel both for our electric power stations and for third countries' suppliers. This is an interesting proposal for us. We have discussed possible cooperation in updating our electric power plants. We have also talked about this issue with our specialists. We are interested in this proposal.

As for uniting energy generating plants, we mentioned this issue only in passing, in the context of the future. Ukraine, of course, is interested in having cross-flows of electric energy as they would allow us to limit the development of capacity increases. As for electricity exports, this is also very interesting.

Not only do we have the nuclear industry, but the hydroelectric industry as well. We know about your programme to modernise hydroelectric power stations because of the accident at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station. We know that you have plans: I have read your programme. We are also interested in this as Ukraine could supply the necessary equipment for hydroelectric power stations. Apart from this, we of course, are interested in more than just modernizing, we are also interested in expanding the capacity of our hydroelectric power plants. If we unite Russia's and Ukraine's experience, we will achieve a renewed cooperative synergy.

Vladimir Putin: We have prepared draft documents regarding cooperation in the electricity industry in general and the hydroelectric power industry, that will be discussed on Friday.

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