The Cuban treatment program for children affected by the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2010, reported.

In a recent visit to the island, Ihor Hrushko, director general of the Americas and Europe department at the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, told JR that what he was very impressed with what he saw in Tarará, the town where the program’s facilities are located.

“This has been a great help and my country really appreciates it. We are very grateful to Cuba. Even in the harshest years of the Special Period, with the shortages Cuba had, it never stopped the program,” said Hrushko.

Hrushko said that the Ukraine has experienced an economic recovery in recent years and added that the Ukrainian Parliament has just passed a resolution to aid Cuba with the program for children affected by the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident. To this end, he said, US$ 800,000 will be assigned each year.

“We want to strengthen relations of friendship and mutual respect between the two nations. In this sense, we are very pleased with the results of the political consultations held with Cuban diplomats,” said Ihor Hrushko.

The Ukrainian official also spoke about the historical ties between the Ukraine and Cuba, which have existed for more than 40 years. “When we were part of the Soviet Union, many Ukrainian people were here in the trenches in the 1960s, and then thousands came to work along with the Cuban people to develop the national economy.”

Regarding economic cooperation between the two countries, Hrushko spoke about the agreement to set up a workshop in Cienfuegos to repair the Ukrainian Kraz trucks (widely known as KP3), which are still being used in Cuba.

“We are also discussing the possibility of setting up a plant to assemble railcars in Cuba. The parts would come from the Ukraine and Cubans would assemble them here, and then export them to third countries, especially in Latin America. Another similar project is under discussion involving Ukrainian Antonov aircrafts. To this end, a delegation of Ukrainian aviation specialists is planning a trip to Cuba. We have designed new models and this could be interesting for the Cuban economy...especially since the US blockade makes it impossible for Cuba to acquire western aviation technology since most have some US components, and the planes, built in the Ukraine, are 100 percent Ukrainian.”