President Viktor Yushchenko believes that Kyiv and Moscow are “on the eve of a breakthrough in Russo-Ukrainian relations” and that this is being facilitated by the action plan drafted by Ukraine and Russia for 2007-2008. This announcement, made by the president in an interview with RIA News on March 20, was issued last week by President Yushchenko’s press service.
It was expected that this document would be signed on March 21, during the Ukrainian president’s visit to Russia. However, the visit did not take place, the official reason behind the cancellation being the tragic events in Kemerovo oblast and the Krasnodar region of the Russian Federation. On the eve of the Ukrainian leader’s visit — after the third failure to push through Volodymyr Ohryzko’s proposed candidacy for the post of foreign minister and the subsequent appointment of Arsenii Yatseniuk — Yushchenko and Putin agreed during a telephone conversation to postpone the Ukrainian leader’s visit to Russia. Now both sides are conducting negotiations about a planned visit in April.
Some observers say that the reason the Yushchenko visit was canceled is because the Ukraine-Russia action plan is not ready. However, in an interview with Russian journalists the Ukrainian president assured that the document is ready to be signed. “We are at the stage now when the documents are ready for signing. Each of the 17 points in the common action plan for 2007-2008 starts with a date, month, and format of a decision on the most complex issues as well as straightforward ones,” Yushchenko said.
The president added that the document deals with the question of demarcating the state border, the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s stay in Ukraine, and other important questions. “Right now no linear meter is demarcated. This is a very big problem; the border delimitation in the Azov Sea, the Black Sea, and the Kerch Strait. Another set of questions is the problem of the Black Sea Fleet’s temporary stay in Sevastopil: land, real estate, frequencies, and navigations. These questions exist. All the i’s must finally be dotted, openly and honestly. This document will provide a clear temporary format for solving these problems. Energy relations, relations in the sphere of aviation, transport, corridors, entry points, a common border regime, readmissions, procedures for obtaining simplified citizenship, some questions concerning the visa regime, and questions related to social humanitarian issue must also be determined,” President Yushchenko underlined.
The only thing left is to wait for this document to be signed. Only once this is done will we be able to ascertain whether there will be a breakthrough in Russo- Ukrainian relations.