Russia "will not go for axing" the volume of oil export because this is contrary to some of its policy principles. But it has already decided on slight cuts in the production of oil in order to stabilise its prices, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov told a press conference in Madrid on Thursday. In this way he commented on the decision of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries to curtail oil exports on the condition that other countries will follow suit. Kasyanov recalled that the other day Russian oil exporters decided to reduce the volume of oil production somewhat and the Russian government backed them. At the same time, Kasyanov emphasized that Russia is not an OPEC member and pursues its own energy-policy interest. The Russian prime minister explained that two key arguments are in question above all. First, Russia is interested in the prices of energy resources "to be fair", or actually acceptable for both suppliers and consumers. In his opinion, there should be a price corridor of between 22 and 25 dollars per barrel. This opinion is shared by the leaders of many European countries, because such prices ensure development of the producing sector and budgetary revenues in different countries, Kasyanov noted. Second, within the framework of the Russia-European Union energy dialogue, Russia promises sustained supplies of energy resources to European countries, which meets their requirements. As regards the stability of the Russian budget and its connection with oil prices, the Russian government has come up with a scenario for developing the macroeconomic situation until the end of 2001 and for 2002 and elaborated corresponding measures.
Western countries actively support Ukraine in words, but they are able to provide less and less real help. This opinion was expressed by the former head of the military intelligence of the Czech Republic, Major General Andor Sandor, in an interview with the Parliamentní listy.