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Ukraine's future lies with Russia: Kuchma

Sept. 27, 2004 at 6:25 PM

KRAMATORSK, Ukraine, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Ukraine's economic future lies with Russia and its partners, outgoing President Leonid Kuchma said Monday, Interfax news agency reported.

Ukraine has been seeking to strengthen its trade ties with the United States and the 25-nation European Union, but Kuchma who will be stepping down after the coming Ukrainian presidential election chooses his successor, said the country's main future still lies with its major partners in the Russian-led Commonwealth of Independent States.

The country needs to continue cooperating in the Common Economic Space of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan, Kuchma said while celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Novokramatorsk Machine-Building Plant.

"Our future is in the competitive economy of mighty enterprises deeply integrated with the system of the international labor division and the economy of modern influential national and international financial and industrial group," Kuchma said.

"I am pinning hopes on the development of relations with the four CIS member countries, primarily Russia and the Common Economic Space," he said.

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