Patriarch of Russia and All Russia Alexei II is currently in Tallinn and will bless the foundation stone of the new Orthodox cathedral in the Estonian capital today. Yesterday he met Estonian President Arnold Riutel. Mr Riutel thanked the Orthodox patriarch for his support in establishing Estonia's independence. Alexei II replied that his visit 'became possible after the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow patriarchy obtained government registration. I think the Estonian Orthodox Church will play an important role in society so that all Orthodox believers in this country accept Estonia as their homeland and work for its future prosperity.'
Alexei II mentioned the problem of the Russian-speaking population in Estonia. He also said he was confident that his visit to Estonia would be favored by the Russian government. 'I am convinced that bilateral relations between Russia and Estonia must be developed in all areas,' he said.
Russia respects the territorial integrity of Ukraine as per the 1991 Declaration of Independence, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a news conference following the 78th session of the UN General Assembly