Ukrainian cooperation with Russia will help to boost Ukrainian aviation industry, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov.
Ukrainian online daily Ukrainska Pravda said earlier this week Russia might receive a controlling stake in the Ukrainian state-owned aircraft manufacturer, Antonov, in exchange for a gas discount.
Azarov said that it was absolutely obvious that Ukraine would not be able to boost its aviation industry alone as "for the last 10 years Ukraine has built only free air planes."
The prime minister reminded that years ago Kiev aviation plant Aviant has been producing a plane a day.
"Our natural partner in developing of aircraft industry is Russia," Azarov said. "Some 60-70 years ago our plants ... were complementary."
Azarov said that Kiev and Moscow are currently negotiating to combine efforts in the development of the aviation industry.
"I am deeply convinced that this year we will agree on a joint production of military cargo aircraft," Azarov said adding that the countries are already discussing the issue.
Ukrainska Pravda on Tuesday cited the Russian version of a draft agreement as saying that Russia's United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) would receive a 50%+1 stake in Antonov in exchange for a gas discount under the deal.
Ukraine is due to receive a stake in UAC, but its size will be determined after an independent evaluation of the market values of Antonov and UAC. The deadline for the final decision is August 1, 2010.
Russian official sources did not comment on the report.
Ukraine was prepared to give Russian companies access to the privatization of the Ukrainian aviation industry and energy sector in 2006, during Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's second term as prime minister. The deal was not completed before Yanukovych lost his post.
Yanukovych, who was inaugurated as the president in February, vowed during his campaign to improve relations with Russia and renegotiate the January 2009 deal on gas supplies, which increased the price, straining Ukraine's already troubled finances.
On Wednesday Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Yanukovych signed the agreement on extending Russia's use of a naval base in Ukraine's Crimea, extending the lease on the Russian base in the port of Sevastopol for 25 years after the current lease expires in 2017, which may be further extended by another five years.
Its ratification was scheduled for April 27 during a plenary session of the Russian lower house of parliament, the State Duma and Ukraine's parliament is due to hold a session on the same day.
There has, however, been strong opposition to the deal in Ukraine and it is not clear that it will in fact be ratified on Tuesday.
Azarov said that Russia and Ukraine are also discussing cooperation in engineering, energy and transport infrastructure development. In particular, talks on building a bridge linking the Ukrainian Crimea and the southern Russian region of North Caucasus are underway.
KIEV, April 25 (RIA Novosti)