The first in 2002 negotiations between US and Russian military departments about mutual nuclear disarmament have come to the end in Washington. As many feared, they proved nearly futile. The United States is still reluctant to respond to Moscow's initiatives within the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. Prior to Deputy Head of the General Headquarters of the Air Forces of the Russian Federation, Yuriy Baluevsky's, visit to Washington two significant events directly concerning Russia's interest took place in the USA, and it is only from the mass media that Moscow was notified thereof. First, US President George Bush made an announcement whose message boils down to the fact that Washington views future nuclear weapon tests as possible. For another, there was an official announcement of US' intent to store, not destroy, the nuclear warheads taken out of active service. Baluyevsky's bewilderment on that account was quite understandable: "What radical nuclear weapons reduction are we talking about, if they are all simply piled up at depots and arsenals?" The head of US delegation, in turn, objected to the principle of compulsory destruction of the nuclear warheads taken out of active service. The part of the negotiations dedicated to anti-missile defense proved fruitless as well. Baluyevsky stressed once again the Russia does not favor the abandonment of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper reported.
Presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak, who was accredited for the press conference by Vladimir Putin from Dozhd (Rain) television channel, asked Putin about competition at the coming election
On December 14, President Putin holds his annual Q&A session with Russian and foreign journalists. This conference is considered to be the beginning of his presidential campaign