In an interview with RIA Novosti, official spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry (MID) Alexander Yakovenko said, on the threshold of a state visit to Russia to be made by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, that Sweden was one of Russia's leading European partners. The king will be in the country from October 8 to 13th. According to Yakovenko, the Swedish leadership supports democratic and market reform in Russia and sees the development of Russo-Swedish relations as one of its priority tasks. The spokesman said that recently bilateral political ties had been developing dynamically. Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson visited Russia in September 2000 and was received by President Putin. The Russian president took part in an informal meeting of heads of state and EU governments in Stockholm in March, 2001. Yakovenko reminded RIA Novosti that Mr. Putin had also met King Carl XVI Gustaf and Mr. Persson. The last meeting between the Swedish premier and the Russian president took place on May 17th in Moscow during the Russia-EU summit. The two nations' foreign ministries have been conducting intensive work in the interim, said Yakovenko. In addition to meetings between the foreign ministers in multilateral formats, Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh made a working visit to Moscow in August, 2000. Moreover, Yakovenko pointed out that Igor Ivanov had visited Stockholm in March this year to take part in a top-level EU meeting.
Volodymyr Saldo, Acting Governor of the Kherson region, said that the Armed Forces of Ukraine were suffering heavy losses while trying to cut across the Dnieper Rvier