Russian President Dmitry Medvedev proposed on Tuesday restoring regular direct flights between Russian and Ukrainian regions ahead of Euro 2012 in Ukraine and the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi.
“Unfortunately, there are no direct flights between airports in southern Russia and Ukrainian cities, as a result of which the growing passenger flow is limited to the capital [of Russia],” Medvedev said during the 2nd Russian-Ukrainian Inter-Regional Economic Forum in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk.
Given Russia’s “huge territory,” Medvedev said, passenger transit to designated cities and towns is “very difficult.”
“I think we should restore regular air links between Russian and Ukrainian regions,” he went on.
He also added that the easing of customs controls has been an important stimulus for the development of Russian-Ukrainian inter-regional cooperation.
Ukraine has refused to join the Customs Union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, saying it is only ready to cooperate with the bloc in a three-plus-one format.
More than a dozen documents have been signed during the forum, including an inter-governmental agreement on cross-border trips by residents in the two countries’ border areas, as well as agreements on customs and border control cooperation and on cooperation in supporting small and medium businesses. Representatives of several Russian and Ukrainian regions also signed deals on trade, scientific, social and cultural cooperation.