Addressing Jean-Pierre Kelche, the chief of the General Staff of French Armed Forces, during a Moscow meeting, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov said the prospects of Russian-French defence and security cooperation look promising. The relationship between two countries' defence ministries is based on a long-standing tradition and has "good prospects for the future," remarked Ivanov, who links the latter to projected changes in the format of Russia-NATO relations as well as to "Russia's positive attitude to defence and security institutes that are being set up in Europe." The minister plans to bring up this issue during a meeting with his French counterpart, which is due next week in the framework of Ivanov's visit to NATO headquarters in Brussels. He is also expected to discuss co-planning of peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan and in the Balkans.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea