Rescue operation in collapsed Ukrainian building ends

Kiev/Moscow - A rescue operation to recover bodies from a collapsed block of flats following a serious explosion that resulted in 27 deaths in Ukraine ended Saturday, the Itar-Tass news agency reported.

Gazprom: Russia, Ukraine "nowhere near" deal ahead of gas cutoff

Moscow/Kiev - Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom and Ukraine's Naftogaz have made no progress on an agreement over two billion dollars in non-payments for imports by Kiev ahead of a New Year's deadline for gas cuts, a spokesman for Gazprom said Wednesday.

Russia facing first budget deficit in a decade

Moscow - Russia faces a budget deficit in 2009 for the first time in a decade as falling prices for oil, the country's main export commodity, squeeze government revenues, a Kremlin official said Wednesday.

Economic aide Arkady Dvorkovich also said the government did not rule out the possibility of seeking foreign credit next year.

Germany hoarding gas as Russia-Ukraine tiff looms

Berlin - Germany has kept its stores of gas full as a fresh, end-of-year dispute between Russia and Ukraine over gas prices looms, according to a Berlin official Tuesday.

The Economics Ministry spokeswoman said German gas distributors had assured Berlin there would be no shortages in Germany because of the dispute.

Test fire of new sea-based missile again fails to launch

Moscow - The test-fire of a new Russian submarine-based missile, designed to overcome missile-defence systems, failed, a source in the military-industrial complex told news agency Interfax.

"After the launch from the nuclear-powered submarine Dmitry Donskoy, the missile self-liquidated and exploded in the air," the source was quoted as saying.


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