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MOSCOW, May 26. /ITAR-TASS/. Asked at last week’s St. Petersburg International Economic Forum if he would be prepared to cooperate with Petro Poroshenko, should the latter be elected Ukraine’s new president, Vladimir Putin replied that firstly, he would like to see Ukraine pay $3.5 billion for the supplied natural gas. The remark triggered giggles in the audience. But seriously speaking, Putin went on to say, he would respect the choice of the Ukrainian people.
In reply, Poroshenko remarked a short while afterwards that Ukraine’ new leadership would be unable to do without negotiations with Russia. “There will be no chance of discussing security in our region in earnest without Russia. We shall find a format and, certainly, there will be a meeting with Putin,” Poroshenko said, adding that he did not rule out mediation by the United States and the European Union.
Russian experts believe that the curtailment of the punitive operation in the southeast of Ukraine, the settlement of the gas dispute and a constitutional reform should be the conditions for a dialogue between Putin and Poroshenko.
Experts polled by the ITAR-TASS Center for Political Analysis believe that Moscow will not recognize the May 25 election fully legitimate, because most people in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions - about five million people - did not take part.
“Of course, Russia is limited by quite a few diplomatic nuances, and it is unable to utterly ignore the Kiev authorities after May 25. Some sort of a dialogue will be established with the election winner in the end. It will be not a dialogue of friends or partners, but an official, framework discussion. We do hope, however, that Moscow will not forget about our ‘desperate republic’, and that it will establish a constructive cooperation with us,” says the director of the Center of Political Analysis and Technologies in the city of Donetsk, Serhiy Baryshnikov.
“Future contacts between Moscow and Kiev should be divided into two categories. Firstly, technical negotiations about economic cooperation and energy supplies. Such talks may begin only after Ukraine has recognized the outstanding debt for Russian gas. Classical political negotiations may begin only after military operations in the southeast of Ukraine, in fact, a scene of civil war, has been terminated,” political scientist Alexei Makarkin told ITAR-TASS in an interview.
The expert believes that Moscow’s previous conditions for dialogue with the authorities in Kiev, in particular, over the federalization of Ukraine and declaration of Russian as a second state language have now been pushed into the background.
“Moscow has pronounced some words of respect for a future choice of the Ukrainian people. But words of respect are still very far from congratulations of the presidential election winner or evidence of recognizing the elections fully legitimate. Moscow thereby addresses Kiev with a clear message to the effect that for establishing cooperation with Russia, Ukraine should get back to a civilized policy in relation to its own citizens and economic partners,” Boris Makarenko, deputy director of the Political Technologies Center, told ITAR-TASS.
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