Russian foreign minister Igor Ivanov said he had no information about Russian paratroopers being lifted to Afghanistan. Some media outlets claimed with reference to some informed source in Uzbekistan that about 20 Russian IL-76 combat and transport aircraft had landed at the Uzbek military airfield of Tuzel 5 km from Tashkent on Wednesday evening, which were allegedly heading for Afghanistan. Ivanov also reminded the audience of an earlier circulated official statement saying that Russian transport aircraft had delivered an advanced force to Kabul in order to set up centres of humanitarian assistance in the Afghan capital. Efforts are already being taken for this purpose, noted the minister. In his words, a field hospital will also be set up in Kabul as part of the humanitarian assistance program, and everything else will be done to render humanitarian aid.
Several years ago, a prominent Indonesian businessman who now resides in Canada, insisted on meeting me in a back room of one of Jakarta's posh restaurants. An avid reader of mine, he 'had something urgent to tell me', after finding out that our paths were going to be crossing in this destroyed and hopelessly polluted Indonesian capital.
Presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak, who was accredited for the press conference by Vladimir Putin from Dozhd (Rain) television channel, asked Putin about competition at the coming election
On December 14, President Putin holds his annual Q&A session with Russian and foreign journalists. This conference is considered to be the beginning of his presidential campaign