After the public prayer-requiem for the victims of the terrorist attacks on September 11 in the Saint Nicholas Cathedral in New York, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the persons accompanying him, who were paying a visit to the USA, left for the Kennedy International Airport. At the present time the president's liner is in the air heading to Moscow. The divine service was attended by Bishop Mercurius of Zaraisk, administrator of the parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church in the United States, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov, Security Council Secretary Vladimir Rushailo, members of the Russian delegation, parishioners and reporters. In 2002 the Saint Nicholas Cathedral will mark its one hundredth anniversary. It has been put on the list of the historical monuments of New York. A lot of prominent American politicians, from President Theodore Roosevelt to New York Mayor Rudolf Giuliani, visited this Cathedral. Vladimir Putin was the first leader of the Russian state who attended the divine service at the Saint Nicholas Cathedral. Its construction began at the time of Emperor Nicholas II who personally contributed to it 5,000 roubles in gold and sanctioned the all-Russia campaign for collecting money for the construction of the Cathedral.
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Eyewitnesses said that explosions could be heard in the centre of Kyiv. Smoke was seen rising above Zhuliany Airport (Kyiv International Airport)