Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov is expected to address, on Wednesday, the plenary session of the Federation Council (the upper house of parliament) with a report on the Iraqi crisis.
First vice-speaker of the Federation Council Valery Goreglyad told journalists on March 25th, when a session of the Council of the upper chamber wound up, that the senators are going "to thoroughly discuss the situation in the region" and adopt a special statement of the upper house of parliament on the situation obtaining "in connection with the military action of the USA and Britain against Iraq." According to chairman of the international affairs committee of the Federation Council Mikhail Margelov, in their statement the senators are going to directly address Russian President Vladimir Putin with a proposal to create a special strategic "crisis group" for "formulating the Russian policy of upholding the country's interests in the entire region and in Central Asia." According to Margelov, this group may include representatives of the Federal Assembly, the government, the presidential staff, the Security Council as well as representatives of industrial and expert circles.
The senator is convinced that oil is not the most important aim for Russia in Iraq. The main thing is that the entire region should not explode, that strategic stability be established there and that the Iraqi conflict should not spread to the whole world, Margelov said.
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