The Russian government has approved on the whole the Finance Ministry's concept of the debt strategy in the period from 2003 to 2005, Russian Deputy Finance Minister Alexey Ulyukayev told journalists today after the government meeting. According to the concept, Russia's foreign debts will amount to $126.8bn in 2004, $122.7bn in 2005 and $113.3bn in 2006. At the same time the volume of internal debts will advance from the current $21.4bn to $34.4bn in 2006. According to the ministry's calculations, the internal debt volume will be $25.7bn in 2004 and $29.5bn in 2005.
Ulyukayev pointed out that in the sphere of state debt policy serious changes had taken place. In particular, the volume of the state debt has decreased by three times. According to the official, "there is no problem with the state debt any longer", the cost of serving debts has also dropped.
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