Russian President Dmitry Medvedev expressed hope on Friday that a "new quality" in relations between Moscow and Kiev will be established.

The statement came during Medvedev's meeting with his new Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych in Moscow, RIA Novosti reported.

"I expect that with the ascension of a new president [in Ukraine], relations between our countries will assume a new quality in dynamics, become much closer, and to be based on kind sentiments and pragmatism," the Russian president told Yanukovych.

Yanukovych said that the new government would change its relations with Russia, adding that ties between the two countries should never have reached such a low level.

"I understand the electorates and was observing [the situation] not just as a politician, but as a common Ukrainian citizen, and for me it was unpleasant, and we never fathomed that our relations would be like that," Yanukovych said.

Medvedev said relations between Russia and Ukraine should be "built on the assumption of the desire of an enormous amount of people who live in our countries to be friends, be together, to develop [our] economies, solve large-scale regional tasks and, finally, to create a basis for a normal life for the huge number of Russians and Ukrainians."

Relations between Moscow and Kiev deteriorated during former Viktor Yushchenko's presidency over his West-leaning policies.


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