Moscow regards the future of Russian-Polish economic relations in the light of Poland's forthcoming entry into the European Union. Official spokesman for the Russian foreign ministry Alexander Yakovenko said this on Tuesday in an interview with RIA Novosti in connection with an official visit by Vladimir Putin to Poland scheduled for January 16-17. The diplomat pointed out that the Russian side did not believe that "this step can either hinder the wide and intensive business contacts or lead to reducing the volumes of trade and economic cooperation and create additional barriers for the communication between Russian and Polish citizens." Yakovenko stressed that taking into account Poland's key transit position on the European continent, the sides will consider the possibility of strengthening cooperation in ensuring energy safety of Europe. Russia believes that there exist tangible possibilities in this sphere for widening collaboration on the bilateral and multilateral basis in increasing export and transit of Russian energy products to Western Europe. Poland is one of Russia's leading partners in the trade and economic sphere. The foreign trade turnover amounted to more than six billion dollars in 2001. The full interview of official spokesman for the Russian foreign ministry Alexander Yakovenko with RIA Novosti is available on the Internet site www.rian.ru.
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