Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said Kiev today inclines towards special strategic partnership with Russia, according to Itar-Tass.
“Good neighborliness with Moscow is our priority. We are inclined towards special strategic partnership,” Yushchenko told in an interview published by Rossiyskaya Gazeta Wednesday on the eve of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Kiev.
Yushchenko expressed hope that the work of the Putin-Yushchenko commission will give a new status to bilateral relations.
Touching upon the sensitive issue of Russia’s naval base at Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, Yushchenko said that the so-called “Big Treaty” between the two former Soviet republics makes Ukraine keep Russia’s Black Sea Fleet until 2017.
“We will comply with the Big Treaty but our Constitution does not permit the deployment of foreign military bases on our territory,” Yushchenko said.
The Ukrainian president admitted that the majority of Ukrainian population does not support his course towards integration into the European Union and NATO but called these moods outdated.
“The majority of our citizens live according to concepts of the 1950s and 1960s and do not support the course towards Euro-integration,” he said. “We must overcome the clichйs,” he stressed.
“We need a nationwide discussion to form a new clear position in foreign policy. I believe, Russia will understand it,” he said.
Yushchenko said he would run for the second term in the office if he sees that his work “is good for the nation.”