US Secretary of State Colin Powell has left Moscow for the German capital. Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Georgy Mamedov and US Ambassador to Russia Alexander Vershbow accompanied Mr. Powell to the airport. The US foreign policy chief held talks with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov on Monday morning, while President Putin also received him. Mr. Powell and the Russian leadership discussed preparations for George W. Bush's visit to Moscow, which is scheduled for the middle of next year. The sides also discussed cooperation between Russia and the USA in the anti-terrorist operation and the problem of Afghanistan's future political system. The non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction was also raised, as was progress in Russo-US talks on strategic offensive weapons agreements and missile defence. Moscow pointed out that its position on the future of the 1972 ABM Treaty remained unchanged. Russia continues to believe that the Treaty should not be abrogated, as this could lead to the breakdown of the world's system of strategic stability.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea