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Russian Defense Minister: Russia considers Ukraine strategic partner

September 04, 2013, 14:59 UTC+3

“We’re working to ensure safety of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine," Sergei Shoigu said

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MOSCOW, September 4 (Itar-Tass) - Russia considers Ukraine the strategic partner, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said.

Speaking at the 6th session of the security sub-committee of the Russian-Ukrainian interstate commission on Wednesday, Shoigu said: “We’ve always considered and consider Ukraine our key strategic partner. Based on this aspect, we’re building relations between our ministries.”

Much attention is riveted to developing integration processes, joint operative and combat readiness, improving military and military-technical cooperation, as well as interaction in the defense industry, the minister said.

“We’re working to ensure safety of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine. I’m sure that the joint efforts will help us overcome the existing difficulties,” Shoigu noted.

He expressed satisfaction with the results of the sub-commissions’ previous sessions, which were held in Kiev on March 6, 2013 and on June 7, 2013.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Pavel Lebedev said he was grateful to Russia for hospitality. “Our countries face difficult tasks on the reform and development of the armed forces. I’d like to thank you for resolving organizational issues related to military-technical cooperation,” Lebedev said.

The parties exchanged information on the development and engineering work to create an An-70 aircraft with the D-27 engine. Ukraine said it was ready to finish building a missile cruiser of 1164 project.

The chiefs of the military school of Russia’s General Staff and the National Defense University of Ukraine signed a memorandum on cooperation. The document envisions cooperation in such fields as training of students, career development, joint research projects and organizing joint conferences and seminars.

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