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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 October, 2004, 02:41 GMT 03:41 UK
Putin answers questions on Ukrainian TV

Russian President Vladimir Putin has appeared live on Ukrainian TV to answer viewers' questions during a visit to Kiev, just days before the country's presidential election. State-owned UT1 channel said 80,000 questions were received for the phone-in. President Putin answered 34 of them during the hour-long broadcast.

The following are Mr Putin's responses to some of the questions:

Moscow's influence on Ukrainian elections:

"To initiate and support political forces within Ukraine from abroad - especially from Russia - is a very dangerous matter, it is counterproductive and could lead to the opposite result. This process ought to come from within Ukrainian society."

Vladimir Putin
Putin praised Ukraine's economic growth

Voter apathy:

"You say that people don't think they can influence events through democratic means. But what other means are there? There are only democratic means. Therefore, I am simply absolutely certain that one must take part in the elections, and a well-known theory has it that if you don't choose then someone else will choose for you."

Presidential career:

"The basic law of Russia provides for two consecutive presidential terms. And that will be my guide"

Dual citizenship

"Ukraine, Russia and Belarus are a special case. We must think about it, not just Russia but Ukraine as well. We cannot make a decision on this unilaterily... But I believe if we see that people in Ukraine want this, we will not only consider it, we will actually implement it."

Ukrainian-Russian cooperation:

I think it is more or less clear what Ukraine stands to gain from cooperation with Russia. We have well-developed cooperation ties since the Soviet era... Second, by pooling efforts in science and technology, in particular, in high technology, we can confidently win third country markets, which would be difficult to do separately. As regards the regions of Ukraine where agriculture prevails, Russia is a good market for their goods."

Restrictions on Ukrainians visiting Russia:

"Citizens of Ukraine must be able to enter the Russian Federation without any restrictions on their internal passports... I will issue an order to this effect to the Interior Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and the presidential administration as soon as I return to Moscow."

International relations:

"We are building relations of partnership with the key countries such as the US. In some areas, I would even say we are allies [with the US], such as in the fight against terrorism... Our positions are also very close on the non-proliferation of WMDs. And they are a big trading partner, as well as the EU. Almost half of our foreign trade is with the EU. This is extremely important to us."

"Russia, as well as Ukraine, are first of all European countries, even though Russia's territory spreads as far as the Pacific. Put culturally, in terms of people's mentality and their way of life, we are first of all a European country. So we must be a part of the world humanitarian and economic space."

"I believe the world can be only multi-polar. There are no unipolar things at all. If the world reaches a unipolar state, it will cease to exist, because there will be no inner energy or stimulus to develop."

Ukrainian economic growth:

"Over the past few years, especially over the last year, Ukraine has achieved very substantial economic growth figures, 13.4% I believe. This is not just rapid growth. The government of [Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor] Yanukovych has achieved even more - they have managed to make this growth felt."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

Putin praises Ukraine's leader
26 Oct 04 |  Europe
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Country profile: Ukraine
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