On Thursday deputies of the State Duma (the lower chamber of Russian parliament) have ratified the European framework convention on transborder cooperation between territorial communities and authorities. Russia signed it November 3, 1999. Ratification of this convention meets Russia's long-term interests, will positively tell on the process of creating a belt of goodneighbourliness along the Russian frontiers and provide a fresh impetus in the development of relations with member states of the Commonwealth of Independent States, believes the corresponding committee of the State Duma. Joining the Convention will also moderate the effects of expansion of the European Union, which are unfavourable for Russia. The Convention has been signed by 33 members states of the Council of Europe, including Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Ukraine and Finland.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea