Russia's Energy Ministry and representatives of major Russian oil companies have spoken out in support of the construction of a Russia-China oil pipeline. Speaking at a meeting with chief executives of oil companies, Energy Minister Igor Yusufov said that the pipeline "will open new prospects in the two countries' interaction and will mark the beginning of a new, oriental line in Russian oil export." A spokesman for the Energy Ministry has told RIA Novosti that the meeting decided to set up a working group of specialists of the ministry and oil companies to study issues related to the pipeline construction. The group may have its first meeting before the end of October 2001. On September 8, 2001, in St. Petersburg, Russia and China signed a general agreement to prepare a feasibility study for the construction of a Russia-China oil pipeline. At the first stage of the Angarsk-Daqing pipeline's operation, from 2005 to 2010, Russia will annually supply to China 20 million tons of oil. Later, oil supplies will be brought to 30 million tons a year. The total length of the pipeline will be 2,437 kilometres. The Russian leg will be 1,642 kilometres long. Russian investments in the project from 2001 to 2010 are expected to total $1,222 million.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea