The government has amended the list of state property items to be privatized under a corresponding program for 2003. According to the Government Information Department, privatization holds true for 1,978 state-owned stakes in public companies and 970 federal state enterprises. In addition, the government has decided to privatize property of federal railroad facilities by regrouping them under the umbrella of a new public company Russian Railroads. The government is due to approve a decree on setting up the new company before September. The expected balance sheet value of assets transferred to this company would amount to 1.7 trillion rubles (about $56bn), including 1.35 trillion rubles (nearly $44.5bn) in fixed assets. The Russian Railroads company is expected to start operating in the fourth quarter of 2003.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba believes that "Crimea has already become a" suitcase without a handle” for Russia