'Russia is already prepared and willing to sign the agreement on monetary union with Belarus now,' Russian President Vladimir Putin announced yesterday at a meeting with Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko in Sochi. According to the Russian president's press office, Mr Putin stressed that 'the formalities have all been carried out properly and the agreement is in the interests of both Russia and Belarus. Our Belarussian colleagues still have certain concerns but our national banks are working together to resolve any issues which may be causing doubt.'
Mr Putin added that Belarus would not lose any of its national sovereignty by entering monetary union with Russia. He emphasised that the introduction of the rouble as the single currency in the two countries has nothing to do with national sovereignty and therefore does not require any guarantees.
Near the United Nations Glass Palace in New York, there is a metallic sculpture entitled "Evil Defeated by Good", representing Saint George transfixing a dragon with his lance. It was donated by the USSR in 1990 to celebrate the INF Treaty concluded with the USA in 1987