The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will lend Russia $290 million to complete the Trans-Siberian road linking the Far East to Europe, First Deputy Transport Minister Igor Slyunyayev reported. The loan will be used to construct a 400-kilometer section of the 10,000-kilometer route between Vladivostok and Brest, Belarus, Slyunyayev specified.
The EBRD's board of directors is expected to give final approval of the loan in June, Richard Wallis, a spokesperson for the bank, noted. The Ministry said that it hoped to complete the route in the first quarter of 2004. The road will connect the pan-European network uniting Berlin, Warsaw, Minsk and Moscow to the far-eastern port of Vladivostok and neighboring China and Japan, the St. Petersburg Times reported.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba believes that "Crimea has already become a" suitcase without a handle” for Russia