Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych said Tuesday he was planning to visit Russia in August, RIA Novosti reported.

"Our embassy in Russia has started preparations for the visit," Foreign Minister Boris Tarasyuk said adding that he would attend a session of the Russian-Ukrainian committee for economic cooperation.

A source in the Ukrainian government told RIA Novosti that Yanukovych could visit Russia as early as next week.

President Viktor Yushchenko finally approved the nomination of Viktor Yanukovych, his 2004 presidential rival, as prime minister Thursday, and parliament voted in his favor Friday, thereby ending a four-month political crisis in the former Soviet republic.

Yanukovych, who had previously served as prime minister under former president Leonid Kuchma, has strong support from the Russian-speaking eastern part of Ukraine, and is widely expected to seek closer economic ties with Russia.


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