The State Duma has ratified an agreement with the European Investment Bank, which was signed in Moscow on 6 December 2002. According to Rosbalt 325 deputies supported the agreement. The agreement exempts the EIB from direct taxes and other fees and duties in Russia. The bank and its beneficiaries also receive the right to convert Russian rubles into foreign currency and transfer money abroad to service the credits. Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Kolotukhin said that the agreement will permit Russia to attract, with the help of the bank, long-term and relatively inexpensive credits without increasing the government's foreign debt. Kolotukhin also said EIB credits are significantly cheaper than the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
The EIB maintains its reserves from investments by member nations. Russia is not a member nation, however, EU finance ministers agreed to finance up to USD 114 million for Russian projects. Conditions of the EIB include a 100% sovereign guarantee, environmental nature of projects and their realization only in Northwest Russia.
Representatives of the Israeli Defence Ministry responded to recent reports about the possible delivery of S-300 SAM systems from Russia to Syria. Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Israel would destroy those systems
Russia is to start supplying S-300 air defence systems to Syria in the near future. The shipments will be conducted free of charge