There are no objective circumstances for Ukraine to join NATO yet, said Ukrainian defense minister Vladimir Shkidchenko at a press conference in Brussels Wednesday. The minister spoke at the NATO HQ after a NATO-Ukraine commission session at the level of military departments heads that took place there. The minister referred to the words Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma had told German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder that Ukraine was ready to go in its relations with the North-Atlantic Alliance as far as NATO wants it to. As an example of cooperation development with the alliance, Shkidchenko named the first steps to change the Ukrainian army's armaments so that they correspond to NATO standards. According to him, the Kharkov military plant produced a 120-mm tank gun, similar to the one the alliance member countries are armed with. NATO Secretary General Lord George Robertson, in his turn, stressed successful development of the alliance's relations with Ukraine.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea
President Vladimir Putin has not released an official statement yet about his position on the issue of the pension reform in Russia