Alterations the United Nations has brought about in its humanitarian programme for Iraq will not make Russia give up its stance on the problem, reads a statement the Russian foreign ministry's press and information department circulated on Wednesday night. This programme is a temporary measure and cannot be an alternative to social and economic rehabilitation of Iraq. It is only by lifting the sanctions against the country on conditions stipulated by related UN Security Council resolutions that the above goal can be achieved, said the Russian foreign ministry. Russia is set to continue the search for purely political and diplomatic ways towards comprehensive settlement of the situation around Iraq. On May 14th, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1409 prolonging the humanitarian programme for yet another six months beginning May 30th. It is the sixth time the programme is prolonged. The new resolution approves the list of banned goods, including dual purpose ones, and the procedure of its application, something which aims to simplify the supply process. Contracts for the supply of goods which are not on the review list are not to be sent for consideration of the UN Security Council's Sanctions Committee on Iraq, but be implemented in an accelerated procedure.
A fire has sparked on board the Russian aircraft-carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, which currently undergoes repairs. The fire has engulfed the entire power compartment of the vessel