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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $ 49,537 41,380 37,600 55
GNI per capita
 US $ 970 770 720 137
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Ukraine

Update No: 356 - (26/08/10)

The most important geopolitical relationship for Ukraine by far is that with its giant neighbour, Russia. Its own capital, Kiev, was once the capital of Rus, the origin of Russia. To this day Russians do not really regard Ukraine as a foreign country.

Putin and Yakunovich meet in Crimea
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Vyktor Yanukovych held talks on a wide-range of issues on August 1. The meeting took place at Mr. Yanukovych's vacation home in the town of Foros on Ukraine's Crimea peninsula. Russian media reports say the talks focused on trade issues.

Prior to the meeting, Mr. Putin participated in a motorcycle rally near the port city of Sevastopol on the Black Sea coast of the Crimea peninsula. Mr. Putin roared to the rally on a Harley Davidson motorcycle where he addressed thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts.

Mr. Putin's visit to the Crimea coincided with Russia's Navy Day, which is observed on August 2 every year. Sevastopol is home to Ukrainian naval forces and to Russia's Black Sea fleet. Speaking on August 1 Mr. Putin said it was symbolic of the friendship between Russia and Ukraine that both Russian and Ukrainian seamen will celebrate the Russian holiday.

The Russian base at Sevastopol was a major issue of contention between Russia and Ukraine after the break up of the Soviet Union. Ukraine's previous government wanted the Russian fleet to leave after its lease expired in 2017. However after Mr. Yanukovych came to power in February, Moscow and Kiev signed an agreement to extend the Russian lease by another 25 years to the year 2042.

Russia ready to demarcate border with Ukraine
Russia has officially confirmed its readiness to demarcate its border with Ukraine. Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleh Voloshyn told journalists on August 3 that the ministry received the official confirmation from Moscow on that day. Voloshyn said a special commission will be created in the near future to work on the demarcation of the border.

The agreement on the border demarcation is considered important for the possible introduction of visa-free travel for Ukrainians to European Union countries. A demarcation agreement was signed by the presidents of Russia and Ukraine, Dmitry Medvedev and Viktor Yanukovych, respectively, in Kiev on May 17.

Moscow and Kiev have been at odds regarding the Russian-Ukrainian border in the strait connecting the Sea of Azov with the Black Sea since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

In 2003 Ukraine officially accused Russia of trespassing upon Ukrainian territory, when Russia began building a dam on Tuzla Island in the Kerch Strait. The conflict was resolved after the then-presidents of Ukraine and Russia, Leonid Kuchma and Vladimir Putin, respectively, signed an agreement on the joint use of the Azov Sea and Kerch Strait in December 2003.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has been reluctant to demarcate its borders with several former Soviet neighbours, namely the Baltic states, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and the countries in the Caucasus.
Nationalists protest visit by Russian patriarch
Nationalist groups have always been wary of Russia in Ukraine. They gathered near the "Ukrainian House" in Kiev to protest Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill's visit to Ukraine in late July.

The some 80 protesters gathered representing the nationalist Svoboda (Liberty) party, the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists, Ukrainian National Assembly-Ukrainian National Self Defence, and the Ukrainian People's Party. They staged a performance called "Glamorous Tour of a Moscow KGB Agent" that was officially banned by the Kiev authorities on July 26.

The protesters also displayed Ukrainian flags, their party banners, and placards saying "Reverend Kirill muddies the waters for the Ukrainian nation" and "No to the Moscow priest-colonizer!" About 30 policemen watched the protest but did not intervene. No violence was reported.

Other protests during Kirill's eight-day trip had been disrupted or otherwise disallowed.

Kirill, who started his visit to Ukraine on July 20, attended a religious service on Kiev's Volodymyr Hill on July 27 to celebrate the day of Russia's conversion to Christianity.

Anti-corruption drive top priority
Ukraine has slid to place 146 (out of 180) in Transparency International's corruption index for 2009.

Since the election of President Yanukovych, the new Ukrainian government has announced several anti-corruption measures, including welcome steps to deregulate business. That in turn could help cut the number of opportunities for corruption.

But many Ukrainian and foreign business people continue to report that corruption is a major problem in Ukraine - even at the simplest level of the reputation of the traffic police for demanding bribes. 





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