The regulations of functioning of the free trade zone between Russia and Ukraine are to be finally worked out in the first quarter of 2002, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said today at the opening of a regular meeting of the bilateral intergovernmental commission in Moscow's President Hotel today. Additionally, according to him, Russia is ready to take part in the completion of the construction of two nuclear power plants in Ukraine (Rovenskaya and Khmelnitskaya). Putting them into service would compensate Ukraine's energy balance for the losses caused by the closing of the Chernobyl power plant. It is planned that Russia would provide equipment for Ukraine and send specialists there. It is also possible that a loan will be granted to finance the completion of the construction of these two nuclear power plants. Kasyanov pointed out at a meeting with reporters earlier, that the main aim of this meeting of the intergovernmental commission is to finally introduce regular payments for Russian natural gas. Having welcomed the ratification of the three gas agreements by the Ukrainian parliament, Kasyanov pointed out that gas protocols would be made every year to specify the volume of natural gas to be supplied, terms of payment, and the transit fee.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea