By BNO News
KIEV, UKRAINE (BNO NEWS) — Ukraine on Monday announced that it will begin oil and gas extraction in Venezuela after an agreement was reached by the Presidents of the two nations.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych met with his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chávez in Kiev on Monday, where the South American leader arrived after visiting Russia and Belarus.
Ukraine is looking to diversify its energy imports in order to diminish its dependence on Russia, which is Kiev’s main supplier of oil and gas.
“Ukraine should extract oil and gas there (in Venezuela). It is very important for us, and we agreed today to step onto this path,” Chávez said.
Venezuela has one of the largest oil and natural gas reserves in the world. The Venezuelan government recently estimated that its oil deposits have reached 316 billion barrels, which positions the South American country as one of the top ten oil exporters.
Chávez also visited the Antonov Aeronautical Scientific/Technical Complex in Kiev. He was shown the commercial aircraft AN 148, one of the Ukrainian airplanes that the government of Yanukovych is offering to Venezuela with the possibility of being built in Caracas.
Since 1946, Antonov has built more than 22,000 aircrafts from around 100 different models. The complex has 15 manufacturing plants and over 50 research facilities. Over 6,000 Antonov’s airplanes are being used in 77 countries including Russia, Iran, Peru, India, Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Cuba.
Chávez began last Thursday an international tour of ten days in which he will visit seven countries in Europe and Asia. He first visited Russia, followed by Belarus. Then, he departed to Ukraine for his first-ever visit to the country. He will continue his tour in Iran, Syria and Portugal.