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Ukraine's foreign minister says ready to improve ties with Russia

RIA Novosti

13:32 23/10/2009 MOSCOW, October 23 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine is ready to step up dialogue with Russia to improve relations, the country’s foreign minister told his Russian counterpart on Friday at a meeting in Moscow.

Petro Poroshenko, only confirmed in the post a week ago, told Russia’s Sergei Lavrov that despite a series of diplomatic disputes between the two countries there is no need for a “reset” in their relations.

"We are ready to resume the dialogue at all levels, including at the highest one," Poroshenko said.

President Dmitry Medvedev delayed sending a new Russian ambassador to Kiev and in an August 11 letter to Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, Medvedev blamed his counterpart for the problems in relations.

Ties have been strained in recent years by gas disputes, Ukraine’s desire to join NATO, and interpretations of the Soviet-era famine in Ukraine. Russia has also accused Ukraine of supplying weapons to Georgia during last year’s war between Russia and Georgia over South Ossetia.

Ukraine had been without a foreign minister since the dismissal on March 3 of Volodymyr Ohryzko, known for his anti-Russian stance. Poroshenko, appointed to the post earlier this month, said improving ties with Russia would be one of his top priorities.

Poroshenko is close to Yushchenko and godfather to his daughters, and his confirmation by parliament was seen as a victory for the president in his power struggle with Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

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