In 2005, Russia and Belarus will switch to a single currency unit, the Russian rouble, said Russian Economic Development Minister German Gref said after a session of the Supreme State Council of the Russia-Belarus Union. The State Council approved some aspects of the joint work done by the two countries' national banks and governments. Gref reported that in 2002 Belarus would adopt the first part of the Tax Code and by the 2003 first quarter develop and adopt its second part. It will seal a common method of taxation for the two countries. By the year 2003, export and import duties will be unified. Starting from 2003, Russia and Belarus will have a budget policy coordinated on the basis of a deficit-free budget. The key question in discussion by the Supreme State Council was the question On Approving a Joint Plan of Action of the Central Bank of Russia, the National Bank of Belarus and the Two Countries' Governments on Creating a Single Economic Space and Switchover to a Single Monetary Unit, the Russian Rouble. The Supreme Council has approved the need before the year end to finalize this document and submit it for approval by the two countries' leaders.
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The Russian Ministry of Defense said that the Armed Forces of Ukraine failed in their attempt to conduct a large-scale offensive in five sectors of the front in the South Donetsk direction