The ambassador of Russia in Ukraine, Viktor Chernomyrdin, and the ambassador of Ukraine in Russia, Nikolai Beloblotsky, are not satisfied with the present state of trade and economic relations between the two countries. The ambassadors spoke at a joint session of the Russian foreign ministry's consultative council for international and external economic relations and the Ukrainian foreign ministry's scientific council. Bilateral trade turnover made up $12 billion in 2001, compared with $16 billion in 1996, said Chernomyrdin. "But the potential of trade and economic cooperation between our countries is much higher," he said. Beloblotsky, in his turn, announced that the state of the Russian-Ukrainian economic cooperation in the border areas is unsatisfactory for both parties. Only during the first quarter of the current year losses in the mutual trade amounted to $450 million. In this connection, the Russian ambassador pointed out that the slump in goods turnover during the first two months of 2002 could be partly caused by the adoption of the second part of Russia's tax code. It is "very important and civilized", he said, but nobody considered the effect of these new articles on the current agreements between Russia and Ukraine, when adopting the code.
More than 3,500 people were detained during unprecedented mass protests that swept across all of Russia in support of Alexey Navalny on January 23