The 2002 gas protocol between Russia and Ukraine has been fully coordinated and will be signed very soon, Russian Vice-Premier Victor Khristenko told reporters on results of the negotiations with a Ukrainian delegation. According to Khristenko, the protocol will ascertain all resources for maintaining Ukraine's gas balance next year. It will constitute 78 billion cubic meters. The RIA Novosti correspondent reports that gas will arrive to Ukraine from the three sources -- own production, transit of Central Asian gas across Russia, Russian shipments in payment for the transit of Russian gas across the Ukrainian territory. It has been decided that 10 percent of Russian gas transit across Ukraine will be paid in cash and the rest in gas. In 2002 Russia is going to pump 124.5 billion cubic meters of gas through the territory of Ukraine. The protocol seals a timeframe for preparing the basic documents shaping long-term prospects of Russia-Ukraine gas cooperation. Prior to July 1, 2002 a long-term contract for the transit of Russian gas to Europe is to be signed for a period until 2013 and a 2003 protocol on cooperation between the two countries in the gas sphere. Khristenko said that this protocol should be concluded in the middle of the year also because its provisions are related to the budgets of Russia and Ukraine.
The Turkish army has completed preparations for operations in northern Syria and is awaiting orders to launch an invasion of four Syrian cities: Manbij, Tel Tamir, Ain Isa and Tel Rifat