Ukraine's new President Viktor Yanukovych pledged to open a new page in relations with Russia in his first visit to Moscow on Friday.
“I see my task in getting relations between Russia and Ukraine take a sharp turn in the right direction,” Mr. Yanukovych said in a televised meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
After assuming office last week Mr. Yanukovych made his maiden visit to Brussels, but he said that ultimately “all roads lead to Moscow.”
Russian-Ukrainian relations “should never be the way they were for the past five years,” he added, referring to the frosty bilateral ties under his predecessor, Viktor Yushchenko.
Mr. Medvedev for his part said relations between the two countries had degraded so badly that they needed “resuscitation with strong medicine.”
The Russian leader expressed the hope for a breakthrough in relations with Ukraine.
“Our talks today have amply brought out an enormous potential for cooperation in all spheres – trade, investment, energy and industry,” Mr. Medvedev said.
Mr. Yanukovych promised to resolve the controversial problem of the continued basing of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine's Sevastopol “to mutual satisfaction.” He also pledged to protect the language rights of Russian speakers who constitute half of Ukraine's population.
Mr. Medvedev accepted Mr. Yanukovych's invitation to visit Kiyv before mid-year to revive the president-level bilateral commission that never met during Mr. Yushchenko's presidency.