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Official website of the President of Russia

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President Vladimir Putin held a meeting with the Cabinet

May 30, 2000, The Kremlin, Moscow

The President began the meeting by announcing breaking news of five Russian pilots who had been freed as a result of the efforts of Foreign Ministry officials, secret services and public organisations. The pilots were flying aircraft that were shot down in Angola in May and June of last year.

The five pilots had been released and were staying in Zambia. An Emergencies Ministry plane will fly there this coming Thursday. The head of state drew the attention of heads of ministries and departments to the fact that the number of instances when Russian ships were used to transport cargoes that had nothing to do with Russian interests had recently increased. As a result, the crews of these vessels sometimes find themselves in difficult situations and ask Russia for help.

Mr Putin stressed that Russia would take care of its citizens in any case and under any circumstances. He said that very often non-Russian crews that found themselves in trouble applied for Russian citizenship, seeking protection from the Russian Federation.

Mr Putin thanked the Foreign Ministry, other agencies and public organisations for their assistance in securing the release of the five Russian pilots.

The President introduced his plenipotentiary envoys to the federal districts.

He asked the plenipotentiary envoys and the cabinet for their mutual support and cooperation. The head of state said that it was mutual support and cooperation, rather than antagonism and lack of understanding, that would help them to tackle the challenges facing the Russian regions.

All the plenipotentiary envoys attended the meeting, except Sergei Kiriyenko, who was on an official trip at that time.

Prior to his meeting with deputy prime ministers and ministers, the President met with Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov.

May 30, 2000, The Kremlin, Moscow