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Home Ukraine Business Technology Op-Ed Lifestyle Hot topics: Champions League  
Friends at last. Yeltsin, Kuchma sign far-reaching agreement By Steve Gutterman
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Ukraine Friends at last. Yeltsin, Kuchma sign far-reaching agreement By Steve Gutterman  Back to Home

Friends at last. Yeltsin, Kuchma sign far-reaching agreement By

Steve Gutterman
By Interns. Published June 5, 1997 at 1:00 am

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President Boris Yeltsin joined his Ukrainian counterpart Leonid year-old boy who …
on social media
June 16, 6:08 pm
Kuchma Saturday May 31 in signing a pact designed to end years of
squabbling beeen the o historically linked nations. More than half a Honest History: Saying
decade aer Ukraine gained independence from Moscow, Yeltsin visited ‘the Ukraine’ is more Ukraine’s army advances slowly at
Kuchma in Kyiv to sign a Trea of Friendship, Cooperation and than a mistake  2549 Russian front
July 06, 10:59 am
Partnership. The accord aims to improve oen tense relations beeen
Ukraine celebrates
the o most populous former Soviet republics. 'I am certain that this day
Ivana Kupala, and H&M to open first store in
will remain forever in the annals of our relations,' Yeltsin said at the
recreates ancient Ukraine, announces …
signing ceremony. 'A new Russia and a new, modern Ukraine have
traditional rituals  644 June 12, 5:55 pm
signed a fundamental document. It is signed not only by the will of the
presidents, but first of all at the will of the people.' More than the
Poroshenko aide
Ukrainian people, it is their leaders who waited for Yeltsin to make his
Vashadze says corrupt
first official visit to Kyiv and sign the trea, which marks Russian
will be jailed  323
acceptance of Ukraine's territorial integri and its sovereign over the
mostly ethnic Russian Crimean Peninsula. Yeltsin had postponed his visit
six times, citing the dispute over the former Soviet Black Sea Fleet and
particularly the status of its main base, the Crimean port of Sevastopol, which became part of an
independent Ukraine when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. The prime ministers of Russia and
Ukraine paved the way for the friendship pact last Wednesday when they signed a packet of agreements
under which Russia will rent much of Sevastopol for at least 20 years. The deal has angered ethnic
Russians in the port and nationalists in both countries. Former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev ceded
Crimea in 1954 to Ukraine, then a Soviet republic. The balmy peninsula is populated mostly by ethnic
Russians, and many in Russia and in Crimea believe it should revert to Kremlin rule. 'Sevastopol is a
Russian ci, and it will be Russian regardless of the decisions taken,' Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov said
Saturday, according to the Interfax news agency. 'Sooner or later, this view will become a reali,' the
popular mayor added. Dissatisfaction with the fleet deal could jeopardize ratification of the friendship pact
in the Russian and Ukrainian parliaments. Yeltsin and Kuchma expressed confidence that lawmakers will
rati the trea, a symbolic step toward closer relations. Yeltsin drew on the interined histories of
Ukraine and Russia, saying, 'Nobody can erase from the memory of our peoples our common history, its
lessons. Together during the war we drove the enemy from the walls of Moscow and Kyiv.' Russia traces its
roots to the Kyivan Rus state in the 9th century, based in what is now the Ukrainian capital. For the past
three centuries, Ukraine has been under Russian domination, including its seven-decade stint as a Soviet
republic. Yeltsin said Russian officials 'must make relations with Ukraine the priori of priorities.' He
urged them to 'wake up and think, what have you done for Ukraine?' The long-delayed friendship trea
came o days aer Ukraine initialed a special partnership deal with NATO. Russia opposes NATO's
imminent easard expansion, and Yeltsin has said he will seek to persuade the 'brotherly' Eastern
Orthodox nation not to join the alliance. Kuchma stressed that Russia is 'a priori direction in our foreign
policy' and that 'Ukraine considers Ukrainian-Russian relations a most important aspect of European
securi.' He said relations have enjoyed a 'noticeable improvement' lately. In addition to what they called
'the big trea,' the presidents signed a declaration Kuchma said should end 'the so-called problem of
Sevastopol.' He said Russia and Ukraine will both provide financial aid to pensioners and needy residents
of the port. The declaration was aimed to soothe the scores of mostly elderly Sevastopol residents who
demonstrated Friday against the Black Sea Fleet agreements and the friendship trea, holding banners
calling for the return of the ci to Russian rule. The presidents also signed a statement pledging space
cooperation, including plans to set up a joint space research center in the Crimean ci of Yevpatoria.
Yeltsin and Kuchma warmly embraced each other at the airport before the Russian president's departure
from Kyiv. Yeltsin returned to Moscow Saturday evening.

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