1 Apr 2010 20:55

Ukraine offers Russia cooperation in various industries

KYIV. April 1 (Interfax) - Ukraine on Thursday offered to cooperate with Russia under nuclear, space and aircraft-building projects and in modernizing the Ukrainian natural gas pipeline system.

"We are ready to discuss the modernization of our gas transmission system," Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said at a meeting in Kyiv with Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov.

Azarov said Ukraine's gas pipeline system can transport about 150 billion cubic meters of gas annually and may be able to carry up to 200 billion cubic meters per year if modernized.

The system would be a lot cheaper to modernize than the South Stream or Nord Stream are to build, he said. He mentioned that Ukraine was currently discussing modernization proposals with EU countries.

South Stream is a proposed pipeline that would bypass Ukraine in carrying Russian gas to Bulgaria across the Black Sea and then on to Italy and Austria.

Nord Stream is a planned offshore gas pipeline to run across the Baltic Sea from Vyborg, Russia, to Greifswald, Germany.

"We are also ready to offer serious mutual relations to the Russian side in the nuclear industry, the space industry and aircraft building," Azarov said.

Shuvalov said Russia had proposed setting up a high-tech fund as a body of the Eurasian Economic Communist (EurAsEC) and that "joint projects in the nuclear, energy and space industries may be put into practice through that fund."

"There still are dozens of areas where we have serious prospects for cooperation, and everything will depend on political will," said Azarov.

He said there had been no such political will over the past several years that preceded Viktor Yanukovych taking office as Ukrainian president in February.