Vladimir Putin excludes the possibility of the participation of Russian troops in the anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan. In an interview with the US television company ABC the Russian President stressed that this is "an unacceptable decision for the Russian side." "For us, to send troops to Afghanistan is the same as for you, America, to return troops to Vietnam, even something more painful for us since the Afghan war ended not so long ago as compared to the Vietnam war," President Putin said. At the same time, the President said that "already now the Russian army is helping the United States and not virtually but factually." First of all, he explained, "it helps with intelligence data; moreover, this intelligence data is of a very good and the highest quality." At the same time, "we are rendering assistance taking into account the knowledge of the realities in Afghanistan, and are rendering assistance to the Northern Alliance." According to the Russian President, Russia has delivered arms to the Northern Alliance worth "many dozens of millions of US dollars."
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea