The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Russia are in talks on the EBRD buying a stake in the country's second biggest bank, Vneshtorgbank, a government official said on Tuesday. "Vneshtorgbank management is considering a proposal by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development on a purchase of a stake. The Central Bank has now submitted the issue to the Cabinet," a government source was quoted as saying. He said the stake amounted to 20 percent and the EBRD had offered $300 million for it. The Central Bank, which has promised to sell its stakes in commercial banks by 2003, owns 99.9 percent of Vneshtorgbank, which mostly deals with foreign trade. The source said Vneshtorgbank was still to undergo evaluation so that the government could calculate how much it was worth, the Russia Journal wrote.
The Ilyushin 20 (Il-20) military electronic reconnaissance aircraft of the Russian Air Force with 14 servicemen on board that went off radar screens off the coast of Syria was shot down by Syrian air defense systems over the Mediterranean Sea