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KYIV -- A group of Ukrainian intellectuals has sent an open letter to leaders of the European Union and the United States urging them to develop greater cooperation with Ukraine, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.

The letter says Ukrainian intellectuals want to see their country as an "important and rightful member" of the world's democratic community and Europe.

They say that the security of Europe and Euro-Atlantic space is not possible without Ukraine being secure and, therefore, understand that the EU's Eastern Partnership program is an important tool for modernization of Ukraine and other countries involved, according to the letter.

One of the signatories, Ukrainian writer and scientist Mykola Ryabchuk told RFE/RL that NATO and partnership with Europe should not be considered as a threat to Eastern European countries, including Ukraine.

As of July 28, the letter was signed by 79 Ukrainians, including writer Yuriy Andrukhovych, former National Security and Defense Council Secretary Volodymyr Horbulin, human rights activist Yevhen Zakharov, poet and publisher Ivan Malkovych, and former political prisoner Vasyl Ovsienko.