President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation and President Leonid Kuchma of Ukraine are to negotiate next week; quite possibly, they will discuss Ukraine's full-fledged Eurasian economic community membership, Kremlin sources say. Ukraine, as well as Moldavia, now boast observer status in this post-Soviet regional economic organization.
In their words, Moscow has been persuading Kiev for quite a while that Ukraine's admission, in the mid-term or long-term prospect, into this organization would enable the country to swell its trade turnover and to expand the tax-applicable base. This concerns machine-building enterprises, in the first place. (The Eurasian economic community now comprises Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia and Tajikistan and is creating the free trade zone-- Ed.) Economic arguments as regards Ukraine's membership in this organization are something flawless, our sources added, nonetheless admitting that some representatives of the Ukrainian political elite opposed the country's full-fledged membership. They excessively politicize this issue, fearing that they might be suspected and accused of trying to doubt Ukrainian independence, RIA-NOVOSTI's sources noted. The Presidents of Russia and Ukraine are also likely to examine the gas-consortium issue; work is now proceeding apace to establish this consortium.
Moreover, the concerned parties might well discuss coordinated Russian-Ukrainian actions to join the World Trade Organization, as well as FATF (Financial Action Task Force) sanctions now being spearheaded against Ukraine. Moscow is ready to share its experience with Kiev, thus enabling the latter to leave the FATF black list.
The Russian army is to test a new version of the Tupolev Tu-160M White Swan strategic missile carrier with the upgraded wing geometry