Azerbaijan and Ukraine: Summing up 30 years of friendship

Azerbaijan and Ukraine: Summing up 30 years of friendship Relations between Azerbaijan and Ukraine have always been traditionally warm
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January 14, 2022 14:41
Azerbaijan and Ukraine: Summing up 30 years of friendship

Relations between Azerbaijan and Ukraine have always been traditionally warm. There are many facts proving that these relations are only getting stronger every year.

Diplomatic relations between the two states were established on February 6, 1992, after they gained independence, and since then they have been actively developing. This year, these relations turn 30.

The range of cooperation between the two countries is great and is expanding every year: from economic cooperation to education. The legal framework includes 155 signed documents. These relations are built on mutual respect and support. Ukraine always supported the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan within its internationally recognized borders.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has already embarked on a working visit to Kyiv, where he is meeting his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky.

This visit is significant for both countries in terms of the development of trade and economic relations. In particular, the signing of documents on the development of partnerships in the field of agriculture and energy is expected. Azerbaijan is also interested in leasing arable land in Ukraine in order to ensure its own food security.

It is worth noting the especially warm relations between the two presidents. It is no coincidence that one of Zelensky’s first visits in 2019, after his election as president of Ukraine, was to Baku. Then the parties signed a number of bilateral documents aimed at deepening cooperation between Ukraine and Azerbaijan in priority areas.

The Ukrainian leader, during his visit to Brussels last December, met with Ilham Aliyev and invited him to visit Kyiv. At that meeting, Zelensky also focused on the transport and logistics potential of cooperation between the countries, in particular, on the need to intensify work to establish the transit of goods along the Europe-Caucasus-Asia route using rail and sea transport. All this once again confirms that relations between the countries will further develop.

One of the promising areas is the cooperation of countries in the energy sector, where the Azerbaijani oil and gas company SOCAR plays an important role. The activity of its subsidiary SOCAR Energy Ukraine is aimed at improving the network of filling stations and organizing wholesale trade in gasoline and petroleum products in Ukraine.

SOCAR started its activities in Ukraine in December 2009. The company owns a network of 60 filling stations and 4 oil depots in Ukraine. In 2021, the fourth meeting of the Azerbaijani-Ukrainian working group on cooperation in the energy sector was held via videoconference chaired by the deputy energy ministers of Azerbaijan and Ukraine Kamal Abbasov and Yaroslav Demchenkov. The parties also agreed to diversify SOCAR’s activities in Ukraine, to increase its presence in the country’s oil products market. An agreement was also reached on the joint implementation of investment projects in the oil and gas industry.

SOCAR Energy Ukraine supplies Ukraine with aviation fuel, purchased from neighboring countries, mainly from Belarus and Lithuania. The Reputation Activists rating organization, which unites more than 650 companies in Ukraine, included SOCAR in the top three companies in the fuel industry of Ukraine in the "Retail of petroleum products" category in 2020.

According to the State Customs Service of Ukraine, for eleven months of 2021, oil was imported from Azerbaijan for $486 million against $233 million for the same period in 2020. Thus, imports have more than doubled. During the specified period, Ukraine’s total imports of oil amounted to $695 million. That is, Azerbaijan’s share in Ukraine’s imports of this energy carrier is 70%. This means that oil supplies from Azerbaijan are very important for Ukraine to ensure both economic and energy security.

The overall trade turnover between the two countries is also growing. In the first eleven months of 2021, the trade turnover amounted to $866 million (imports worth $419 million, exports worth $446 million). In 2020, the trade turnover was $771 million (imports worth $418 million, exports worth $353 million). Ukraine is the 6th major trade partner of Azerbaijan (12th in terms of exports). The main exports from Ukraine are ferrous metals, tobacco, paper, cardboard, sugar and confectionery, finished grain products, wood, and so on.

The cooperation between the two countries in the humanitarian spheres, such as education and culture, is significant. The main aim of these relations is the establishment of ties with creative, cultural and educational organizations of Azerbaijan and Ukraine, as well as the creation of conditions for the expansion of mutually beneficial humanitarian, cultural and business relations between the two countries.

Thus, during a telephone conversation between the leader of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and his Ukrainian counterpart on March 26, 2020, an agreement was reached on the provision of humanitarian assistance to combat the coronavirus. In May 2020, Azerbaijan provided Ukraine with 23 tons of humanitarian aid, including medical masks, protective suits, thermometers, disinfectants and other materials and equipment.

The Azerbaijani diaspora in Ukraine is one of the most numerous and active in the country. Thanks to this, on July 18, 2018, on the initiative and with the full support of the Azerbaijani embassy, ​​the square named after Muslim Magomayev, and on May 27, 2019, a monument to the Azerbaijani poet and thinker Imadaddin Nasimi was erected there. In November 2019, and the Azerbaijan Center was opened in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro.

There is a monument to the Ukrainian poet and writer Taras Shevchenko in Baku. The monument was inaugurated on June 30, 2008, by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko. In 2021, the Ukrainian Center of Culture began functioning at the Embassy of Ukraine in Azerbaijan.

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The Baku State University has contacts with such higher educational institutions of Ukraine as Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Cherkassy national universities. The joint activity of the Interregional Academy of Personnel Management (IAPM) with the universities of Azerbaijan is noted. Many Azerbaijani students choose Ukraine as a country that provides quality education.

It is safe to assume that relations between Azerbaijan and Ukraine will continue to develop, cooperation between the countries will expand and cover new economic areas. Ukraine is a profitable market for Azerbaijani agricultural and petrochemical products. It is important as an alternative market for Azerbaijani exports. In turn, Ukraine specializes in the production of metal structures, ferrous metal, paper, cardboard, pharmaceutical products - all this may be of interest to Azerbaijan.

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