The member states of the European Union were the main trade partners ofRussia in the first half of 2002. Their share in Russia's total tradevolume was 37.6 percent, compared to 38.4 percent in the correspondingperiod of 2001, the State Customs Committee reported. The trade turnoverwith Germany amounted to $6.6bn (a 7 percent decrease compared to the firstsix months of 2001), with Italy 4.5bn (a 3.8 percent drop), the Netherlands$3.9bn, which was 60 percent more, Great Britain $2.1bn, which was 16percent lower, Finland $2bn (a 13 percent retreat). The total volume oftrade with the European Union practically did not change in the first halfof 2002, compared to the period from January to June 2001. It amounted to$25.3bn.Russia's trade turnover with the CIS countries amounted to $11.4bn in thefirst six months of 2002, which was 17 percent of the total trade volume.The trade turnover with countries of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperationorganization increased by 4.8 percent to $10.8bn, which was 16 percent ofRussia's total trade volume with foreign countries in the first half of2002. Among Russia's main trade partners in the APEC there were the USAwith a $3.1bn turnover, China $3.8bn and Japan $1.2bn.The volume of the Russian trade with the Central and East Europeancountries amounted to $8.6bn in the first half of 2002, which was 2.5percent lower than in the corresponding period of last year, or 12.8percent of Russia's total volume of trade with foreign countries. AmongRussia's main trade partners in the Central and Eastern Europe there werePoland with $2.2bn trade volume, Hungary $1.2bn, Slovakia $980m and theCzech Republic $900m..
Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club that Russia will never initiate military actions, including with the use of nuclear weapons
Representatives of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation commented on the state of affairs in the Sea of Azov