Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed to introduce the Russian ruble asa single currency in the Russian-Belarusian Union effective January 1,2004, which is a year earlier than it had been initially planned. Putintold journalists about his initiative at a press conference in the Kremlintoday, after his meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.The President stressed that he had already commissioned the government tospeed up the process of introducing the single currency in the Union. Putinnoted that the introduction of the Russian ruble as a single legal tender ayear ahead of schedule "would require some exertion and efforts" fromBelarusian colleagues and would create "some exertion for the Russianeconomy as well". .
Viktor Yanukovych, former President of Ukraine, who was toppled in 2014 as a result of illegal and violent coup in Ukraine, made his first comment about the current events in Ukraine