U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin issued New Year's greetings to their countrymen Friday.
Mr. Bush, vacationing at his ranch in the U.S. southern state of Texas, issued a statement offering condolences to the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster, and pledging U.S. support to help "cope with the loss and prevail over this destruction."
Earlier Friday, the Bush administration announced it would increase U.S. assistance to the region to $350 million.
For his part, Russian President Putin remembered 2004 as a "dramatic" year for his nation. Russia was hit by a series of terrorist attacks in 2004, including the school hostage crisis that left more than 300 people dead, many of them children.