U.S. policies in Central Asian republics are not directed against Russia's interests. Condoleezza Rice, U.S. president's special assistant for national security affairs, made a statement to this effect in an exclusive interview to the Izvestia daily to be published Monday. She stressed that the United States was making no plans to oust Russia from that region. As Condoleezza Rice said, immediately after the disintegration of the USSR the United States established diplomatic relations with the former Soviet republics in Central Asia. In her words, these are not military relations. What is important for us are political and economic contacts with these countries, she said. When pointing to the fact that the Russian leadership has serious interests in this region, Condoleezza Rice stressed that the United States had always maintained a clearcut position in dialogue with Moscow on this issue: Central Asian republics should be respected as independent states. In Condoleezza Rice's words, the best way to maintain present-day relations is trade, economic and political cooperation, without any pressure and intimidation.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea