The FINANCIAL — Europe is interested in a good relations between Russia and Ukraine, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said on May 23 in an interview with three Ukrainian TV channels, RIA Novosti said.
He said that Europe was a prisoner of situation when relations between Kiev and Moscow soured under the previous presidency of Viktor Yuchshenko.
"Europe remembers the years 2006 and 2008 when it was left without gas and heating," Yanukovych said. "And today the improvement in relations between Ukraine and Russia is also a priority as a shifting away from confrontation is that everyone needs today, not only Ukraine and Russia, but also the Europe."
Yanukovych, who was inaugurated as the president in February, vowed during his campaign to improve relations with Russia and renegotiate the January 2009 deal on gas supplies, which increased the price, straining Ukraine's already troubled finances.
Ukraine's previous president, pursued strongly pro-Western policies, often at the expense of ties with Moscow, but Yanukovych, whose powerbase is in the largely Russian-speaking east of Ukraine, moved Kiev dramatically closer to Moscow.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Yanukovych signed the agreement on extending Russia's use of a naval base in Ukraine's Crimea, extending the lease on the Russian base in the port of Sevastopol for 25 years after the current lease expires in 2017, which may be further extended by another five years.