NATO Secretary General George Robertson is to arrive in Russia for a working visit. According to a RIA Novosti correspondent, first on the agenda of the visit is Volgograd /known as Stalingrad until 1961/ where Lord Robertson will meet the local governor, Nikolai Maksyuta, and the head of the city administration, Yuri Chekhov. On Thursday, Robertson will visit the Mamai Hill, a monument to the heroes of the Stalindgrad battle, where fierce fight was waged in 1942-1943. He will also meet the city's public and students of Volgograd University. On the same day, the secretary general will arrive in Moscow for the main part of his visit. In Moscow George Robertson will meet Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov and Security Council Secretary Vladimir Rushailo. Spokesman for the Russian foreign ministry Alexander Yakovenko said in an interview with RIA Novosti that among other issues the talks would spotlight the proposal of British Prime Minister Tony Blair regarding Russia-NATO rapprochement. Certain regional issues will also come under discussion. Lord Robertson is expected to participate in the activities of the joint working group of Russia's federal assembly and NATO's interparliamentary assembly in Moscow. The visit of NATO's secretary general will last into November 23.
An explosion of household gas occurred in a nine-storeyed apartment building in the city of Shakhty, the Rostov region of Russia. The blast destroyed two storeys of the building