The Yukos affair is working up to a climax, writes Vremya Novostei. Government officials are no longer barred from commenting on the oil company's further destiny. Comments came en masse after President Putin said, last week, that the Russian authorities were not after bankrupting the company. The state made it clear that it is ready to meet the oil giant halfway and not to bankrupt it, writes the paper. The state even suggested a possible scenario. The arrest of Yukos' assets imposed by the court to ensure the tax ministry's $3.4 billion back-tax claim may be lifted in the near future. Yukos may pay off the federal tax liabilities by selling its assets, suggested Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin.
Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Shatalov does not rule out that the original tax claim may be cut.
An explosion of household gas occurred in a nine-storeyed apartment building in the city of Shakhty, the Rostov region of Russia. The blast destroyed two storeys of the building