The Belarussian government took the decision to reduce from February 1, 2003 the fee collected from Russian citizens travelling along the major motorway of the republic, the Moscow-Brest highway. From now on Russian car drivers travelling to Minsk or Brest, a city at the Belarussian-Polish border will pay two dollars instead of previous six. For trucks the fee is reduced from 12 to 8 dollars.
As RIA Novosti correspondents report, republican authorities are prepared to completely abolish the road tax for Russians but cannot do that. The matter is that the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in 1994 allotted to Minsk a 50-million dollar loan to modernize the highway and conditioned it by the introduction of payment for travels along the road. Only foreign transportation means are charged and the money thus collected is transferred to repay interest on the EBRD loan.
US and Chinese experts believe that the Sukhoi Checkmate aircraft will become competition to their F-35 and FC-31 fighter jets in the arms market.