Russian President Vladimir Putin has emphasized the importance of the Russian-Ukrainian business forum, which is currently taking place in Kharkov, Ukraine. The forum enabled the sides to outline the prospects of future economic cooperation and sum up the results of this year's activity, he said at a press conference. Russian and Ukrainian entrepreneurs and government officials have also "checked the proximity of their approaches" to global integration processes, reported the president. Besides, the forum helped the energy systems of Russia and Ukraine to "switch to synchronous energy generation," he added. Once again, the president stressed that the "qualitative and quantitative features" of bilateral cooperation had improved during the year. For instance, commodity turnover amounted to $7 million in the first 9 months of 2001, increasing by 12% against the same period of 2000. Other improvements, according to Putin, include "increasing investment activity of Russian entrepreneurs on the Russian market" and "growing business activity" of their Ukrainian colleagues.
Forest fires in Siberia have been raging for three months already. They have become a disaster not only of Russian, but of global scale. The fires have already scorched 12 million hectares of land