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Ukraine Leader Says He Will Meet Medvedev, Despite Snub


Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (right) meets with his Ukrainian counterpart, Viktor Yushchenko, at a CIS forum in St. Petersburg in June 2008.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (right) meets with his Ukrainian counterpart, Viktor Yushchenko, at a CIS forum in St. Petersburg in June 2008.

KYIV (Reuters) -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said he planned to meet Russia's Dmitry Medvedev in Moldova next month, though the Kremlin chief has publicly written off doing business with him.

Asked at a Kyiv news conference whether he would see Medvedev at a planned summit of Commonwealth of Independent States in Moldova on October 9, Yushchenko said: "The meeting will take place. And I will take part in the council of [CIS] heads of state."

The comment was unusually reconciliatory given Medvedev's sharp attack on the pro-Western Yushchenko in August.

In an open letter, Medvedev accused Yushchenko of pursuing a nakedly anti-Russian course and he backed this up by saying he was delaying sending a new Russian ambassador to Kyiv.

"I do not see prospects for restoring normal relations under the current leaders," Medvedev said at the time.

Yushchenko, who came to power following peaceful pro-Western protests in 2004, has angered Moscow by continuing to pursue NATO membership for his country and he further infuriated the Kremlin last year by declaring support for Georgia during its brief war with Russia.

He is seeking a second term in office in a January 17 election but his low public ratings, which are in single digits, suggest he has little chance of success.
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