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Yushchenko Calls Russia 'Eternal Partner'

Ukraine's new president says Russia is his nation's "eternal strategic partner," an apparent bid to smooth over Moscow's backing of his electoral opponent.

Viktor Yushchenko met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin Monday, on his first full day as Ukrainian leader. Mr. Putin, who supported Mr. Yushchenko's rival in the bitter campaign, said he looked forward to bilateral cooperation, especially expanded trade.

Mr. Yushchenko's act of placing a Moscow trip first on his agenda was countered by the announcement of Yulia Tymoshenko as prime minister. Ms. Tymoshenko is a fierce advocate of the free market and has criticized Mr. Putin's interference in Ukrainian politics. Russia, for its part, is investigating her for corruption.

The pro-western Mr. Yushchenko travels next to Brussels to meet with European Union leaders. He said during his inauguration Sunday Ukraine's future is in the Union.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.