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President Lula in Ukraine for Talks on Trade

December 3rd, 2009

Lula5Brazilian PresidentLula was in Ukraine on Wednesday for talks on aerospace and trade with the former Soviet republic. The two countries are planning to place satellites into orbit using Ukrainian rockets launched from Brazilian territory, in a joint venture.

Lula met with his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yushchenko in discussions on the project, after a troop review ceremony. The two leaders signed an agreement to cancel visa requirements for citizens travelling between Brazil and Ukraine.

Negotiations on direct air connections between Kiev and Rio de Janeiro were nearing completion, with the first flights likely to take place by June 2010, Yushchenko said at a press conference.

Brazilian Defence Minister Nelson Jobim was scheduled later in the day to fly to the Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrovsk, home to the Yuzhmash rocket factory, according to an Interfax news agency report.

Ukraine’s national space agency has pinned much of its hope for future development on a joint venture with the Brazilian national space agency, and a converted Soviet-era intercontinental ballistic missile called Tsyklon-4.

The Tsyklon-4 rocket will be a launch vehicle for potentially dozens of commercial satellites into orbit from Brazil’s Alacantara space centre, according Ukrainian official statements.

Last month, Yushchenko said the first Ukrainian-Brazilian rocket launch would take place next year.

According to independent Ukrainian media reports however, financing for the project from Kiev is limited, and the first Tsyklon-4 is like to lift off only in 2011, if not later.

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