International Monetary Fund authorities have met with understanding the decision of Russia to make do without the Fund's loans and act within the framework of the joint statement on the terms of post-program monitoring, which its Government and Central Bank jointly made. Russian Vice-Premier and Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin said this to journalists after his Saturday meeting with IMF managing director Horst Koehler. In Koehler's opinion, Russia goes further, building its relations with the IMF in a non-usual manner. Russia is also ready to send clear reports to the Fund. According to Kudrin, it was agreed that two IMF missions would visit Russia next year. The first is to arrive in the latter part of June to consider fiscal questions and the second is tentatively to arrive in September. Kudrin also told journalists that on behalf of the Russian Government he had invited Koehler to visit Russia. Koehler said that such a visit was possible. In Kudrin's opinion, the visit of the new IMF director would have a new quality in a situation when Russia was not experiencing a crisis and its relations with the Fund did not depend on loans. The last visit of Fund's managing director to Russia took place in April 1999.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine may face new problems over the upgraded Russian unmanned aerial vehicle Lancet. Kyiv will now need to use airfields far from the line of combat contact and look for new ways to protect its aircraft