ISLAMABAD - Ukrainian Ambassador Volodymyr Lakomov on Sunday said that his government and companies were ready to cooperate with Pakistan in the defence sector with supply and joint production of the world-known cargo plane “Antonov An-225”, besides other areas.

Ukraine, he said, had already supplied the above mentioned cargo planes to Iran and Egypt, and other countries had shown interest to purchase it. Pakistan could be a regional partner for the plane’s renovation/modification process to production, he added.

Talking to the news agency, regarding bilateral cooperation from trade to defence between the two countries in future, he hoped that the joint production project would be a key to further strengthen their long term ties in the defence sector.

As regards the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the ambassador said that Pakistan being a dynamically developing country, should take maximum benefit from that project.

To a question about the prospects of Ukrainian investment in the CPEC project, he said, “We support this project and the Ukrainian companies would love to invest in CPEC projects as it would be a guarantee of economic stability of this region in the times to come.”

Regarding people-to-people contacts between Pakistan and Ukraine, Ambassador Volodymyr said a number of draft agreements had already been finalised, most of which were related to ministerial level in the sectors of education, culture, media and others, including exchange of visits of delegations between the two countries.

Talking about the role of Pakistan against terrorism, he appreciated the role of Pakistani government and the armed forces to fight terrorism.

The entire world recognised the sacrifices of Pakistani nation as well as the armed forces, he added.

Regarding bilateral cooperation in the education sector, he said more than 1,000 Pakistani students were studying in various Ukrainian universities, especially in the faculties/departments of medical, engineering, textile, agriculture and metallurgy.

Ukraine, he said, had over 100 universities, which had capacity to accommodate more students from Pakistan and the embassy would provide all possible support in that regard.

About cooperation in the field of trade and investment, he said the two countries were working to finalise a draft agreement, “Mutual Encouragement Investment Protection”, to enhance investment opportunities.

This agreement would encourage investors by ensuring safety of their investment, besides helping in avoiding double taxation between the two countries, the envoy said.

Pakistani businessmen, he said, could take benefit from Ukraine by investing as the country had a Free Trade Agreement with European countries, he mentioned.

The ambassador said the main objective of the Ukrainian foreign ministry was to achieve membership of the European Union and the government was fully committed to fulfil its requirements.

He called upon the world community to support the Ukrainian people, who were facing “worst aggression” by the Russian forces, for the latter’s withdrawal from their areas.

Volodymyr claimed that more than 9,000 innocent citizens, including women and children of “occupied areas” had been been killed by the Russian forces and about 30,000 injured, while over 100,000 people were forced to leave their houses and take refuge in other parts of the country.

The Ukrainian nation, he said, wanted elections in thoise areas in a free and fair atmosphere, which could be provided only after the withdrawal of Russian forces.