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MOSCOW, April 7 (Itar-Tass) —— Ukraine will boost and expand cooperation with Russian regions, the head of Ukraine’s Zhitomir region, Sergei Ryzhuk, said.
“We have made a breakthrough in understanding of current relations between regions,” Ryzhuk said after a visit of a Ukrainian delegation to Russia’s Tyumen and Khanty-Mansi and Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Areas.
“Distance is the only stumbling block. Clearly, direct dialogue between regions is less expensive,” he said on Saturday, April 7.
According to Ryzhuk, there are no problems at the regional level, especially in relations between business entities and entrepreneurs.
About 130 projects were offered during the Ukrainian delegation’s visit. “It’s a pity that we did not contact before. But now we are looking forward,” he said.
“We [citizens of Russia and Ukraine] were and are brothers. If some politicians say that there are suspicions between the peoples, that’s nonsense,” the official said.
Restoration of Russian-Ukrainian relations in 2010 and the end of confrontation gave a serious impetus to bilateral trade and economic cooperation. In 2010, Russian-Ukrainian trade turnover increased by 61.8 percent for 2009 to 37.1 billion U.S. dollars, including Russian export worth 23.1 billion U.S. dollars (increase of 67.1 percent) and import worth of 14.1 billion U.S. dollars (up 53.8 percent). Trade with Ukraine grew faster than Russia's foreign trade in general.
Ukraine accounted to 4.9 percent in Russia's trade turnover in 2009 and increased to 5.9 percent in 2010 and to 7.8 percent in January 2011. Ukraine became the fifth largest trade partner of Russia in 2010 after China, the Netherlands, Germany, and Italy, and the biggest one in the CIS.
In 2011, Ukraine was already third after China and Germany. Russia's share in Ukraine's trade turnover in 2010 increased to 31.7 percent, including in to 26.1 percent (21.4 percent in 2009) the export of Ukrainian goods and to 36.5 percent (29.1 percent in 2009) in import.
Russia is the most attractive importer of Ukrainian products. For example, Russia buys almost three times as much machinery in Ukraine than in does in the 27 EU countries. Some Ukrainian products - alumina, ferrochromium, large-diameter pipes, and some equipment - are vital for the Russian economy. In turn, stable energy supplies from Russia are an important factor for the development of Ukraine's industry and agriculture.
Ukraine is one of the main capital investment market for Russian businessmen. Russian investors in Ukraine include state-owned and private corporations, the biggest of which are Gazprom, RusAl, LUKOIL, Tatneft, TNK-BP, SUAL Holding, VimpelCom, MTS, AFK Sistema, Wimm-Bill-Dann, and others.