Tymoshenko says ready to improve relations with Russia

14:50, 10 February 2009
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Blames corrupt Ukrainian businesspeople for recent gas conflict

Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko intends to improve cooperation with Russia, she said in an interview published by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper on Tuesday, Itar-Tass reported.

“We have two options in our relations with Russia: either we aggravate confrontation and deepen the conflict, which would have negative consequences for the entire region, or despite all differences in views we will seek better cooperation. I, as the prime minister, have chosen the second option,” Tymoshenko stated.

“In three points, however, there can be no compromise: in our territorial integrity, our national pride and pursuing our national interests,” she added.

Tymoshenko stressed that Ukraine can cooperate with Russia “only as an equal and sovereign partner.”

The Ukrainian prime minister also noted that “the main cause” of the recent natural gas conflict between Kyiv and Moscow is interference in relations in this sphere with Russia of corrupt Ukrainian businesspeople and politicians.

In the view of Tymoshenko, the conflict was caused by “corrupt structures, part of big time politics in Ukraine and certain businesspeople” that disrupted agreements with Russia reached earlier by her.

At the same time, the Ukrainian prime minister still claimed, contradicting herself, that “Ukraine is not to blame” for the recent gas conflict with Russia, although she admitted that it has “strongly damaged the Ukrainian image in Europe.”

Itar-Tass

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