NATO Secretary-General opened meetings with top Ukrainian officials on Wednesday, aimed at reviewing this ex-Soviet republic's bid to join the Western alliance.
Jaap de Hoop Scheffer was due to meet with President Viktor Yushchenko, Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk, Defense Minister Anatoly Gritsenko and others to discuss Ukraine's progress in military, political and economic reforms necessary for NATO membership. He was also expected to participate in a meeting of Ukraine's top security body.
Ukraine's pro-Western leadership wants to see the country join NATO, but the alliance has stopped short of laying out a timeline for membership, reports the AP.
An explosion of household gas occurred in a nine-storeyed apartment building in the city of Shakhty, the Rostov region of Russia. The blast destroyed two storeys of the building