WASHINGTON, December 12. /ITAR-TASS/. In dialogue with Ukraine, it is “result, not format” that is of importance to Russia, First Vice-Premier Igor Shuvalov said here Wednesday in response to Itar-Tass correspondent's questions during a meeting with journalists to brief them on the results of his working tour of the USA.
In recent days, Ukraine's leadership suggested more than once to arrange consultations between Ukraine, Russia and the EU. However, this idea did not find a positive response in the European Union. “It appears to me that we are much more flexible than Europe (in this respect),” Shuvalov said on that score. “We are ready to hold talks in various formats. The most important thing is to achieve an actual result. We appreciate a result, not a format.” As for US attitude to the matter, he suggested that journalists find this out from American authorities themselves.
Russia’s first vice-premier emphasized several times that “Ukraine itself determines a status that is most suitable to it: whether it will continue talks with EU on a free trade zone, or it will seek closer economic ties with Russia”. “We shall support whatever decision of Ukraine,” he assured.
Shuvalov said that in recent weeks the Ukrainian side had been suggesting that Moscow “engage in in-depth industrial co-production arrangements”. Russia is also highly interested in this. “We shall in any case uphold everything connected with industrial co-production,” the first vice-premier said.
His conviction is that “we are all interested in Ukraine's developments terminating as softly as possible; no one wants any escalation”. Crucial issues as to “how Ukraine will develop its economy subsequently and what kind of integration and with which side it will pursue it” can and must be discussed “but only calmly — not under the influence of sentiments of the street or under a strong pressure from opponents,” Shuvalov stressed.
He confirmed that questions as to what is going on in Ukraine and what is Moscow's attitude to the developments had been constantly asked during his three-day tour of the US by most diverse interlocutors, ranging from Federal officials to analysts and members of the business community. In reply, he said, he sought to explain Russia's stand and on the strength of specific examples he was trying to prove why in the current situation there was “no possibility to arrange a special format” for Ukraine, the format that would fulfill all ambitions and would allow its integration to develop both westward and eastward simultaneously.