Minsk - The interior ministers of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine discussed how to step up cooperation between their ministries at a meeting in Minsk on Tuesday.
Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev said that "cross-border crime amid the economic crisis could enter a stage of escalation." He said that the issues of countering terrorism and extremism amid the economic crisis would be discussed at the meeting in Minsk.
Nurgaliyev said that "the interior agencies are currently facing the very difficult task of maintaining order and stability in our countries amid the financial and economic crises."
"People in our countries should be protected," he said.
Ukrainian Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko, in turn, said that his country is facing a "very difficult situation."
"A huge army of unemployed people has formed, and many of them are trying to gain illegal income," he said, adding that "street crime has recently increased in the country by 10-15%, with economic crime growing as well."
Lutsenko stressed the need to step up the activities of the three interior ministries. He thanked his Russian and Belarusian colleagues for helping Ukrainian police officers arrest hundreds of criminals last year.
He also said that "amid the economic crisis, the interior bodies are faced with the task of ensuring that the terrible times of the early 1990s are not repeated."
"We should maintain stability and order in our countries," Lutsenko said.