While Russia`s share of Ukrainian exports rose from 26.2% in 1997 to about 23% between 1998 and 2000, the share of imports remained stable between 45% and 50%. In total, between one third and half of Ukraine`s trade with the Russian Federation was wiretapped. Dependence was particularly strong in energy. Up to 70 to 75 per cent of the gas consumed each year and nearly 80% of the oil came from Russia. On the export side, dependency was also important. Russia remained Ukraine`s largest market for ferrous metals, steel sheets and tubes, electrical machinery, machine tools and equipment, food products and chemical products. It was a market of hope for high value-added goods in Ukraine, more than nine-tenths of which were historically linked to the Russian consumer. As the former buyers in 1997, Ukraine had experienced a 97-99 percent decline in the production of industrial machinery equipped with digital control systems, televisions, audio devices, diggers, cars and trucks. At the same time and despite the post-communist slowdown, Russia was the fourth largest investor in the Ukrainian economy after the United States, the Netherlands and Germany, after contributing in 1998 to $150.6 million out of $2.047 billion in foreign direct investment that Ukraine had received from all sources.  The overall perception of relations with Russia in Ukraine is largely different from regional factors.
Many Russian-speaking regions in the east and south, where the majority of the Russian diaspora also live in Ukraine, welcome closer ties with Russia.  However, other central and particularly Western regions (which have never been part of Imperial Russia) of Ukraine are less friendly towards the idea of a historical link with Russia, and in particular with the Soviet Union.  The second major dispute in the 1990s was the city of Sevastopol with its base of the Black Sea fleet. During the fall of the Soviet state, the city participated with the rest of Ukraine in the national referendum for Ukraine`s independence, in which 57.07% of the voters voted for the succession of the city in favor of the Ukrainian state, but the Supreme Soviet of Russia voted in 1993 in favor of reconquering the city as territory. After several years of intense negotiations, the whole problem was solved in 1997 by distributing the Black Sea fleet and leasing some naval bases from Sevastopol to the Russian navy until 2017. The Friendship Treaty was signed in 1997, which defines the principle of strategic partnership, recognition of the inviolability of existing borders, respect for territorial integrity and the mutual obligation not to use one`s territory to undermine the security of the other.   A poll published on 5 November 2009 showed that 55% of Russians believed that relations with Ukraine should be a friendship between „two independent states“.  A survey conducted by the Levada Centre at the end of 2011 showed that 53% of Russians surveyed preferred a friendship with an independent Ukraine, 33% preferred Ukraine to be under Russia`s economic and political control, and 15% were undecided.  According to the 2012 Levada survey, 60% of Russians preferred Russia and Ukraine as independent but welcoming states with open borders, without visas or customs; The number of supporters of the union increased by 4% in Russia to 20%.  Twenty surveys conducted by the Levada Center from January 2009 to January 2015 revealed that less than 10% of Russians supported Russia and Ukraine to become a state.
 In the January 2015 survey, 19% wanted eastern Ukraine to be admitted to Russia and 43% to an independent state.  On 1 March 2014, the Federation Council of the Russian Federal Assembly voted unanimously to allow the President of Russia to invade Russian forces on the territory of Ukraine.   On 3 March 2014, the Russian Representative to the United Nations, Vitali Churkin, presented a letter signed by former Ukrainian President Yanukovych on 1 March 2014 and addressed to the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin