On Thursday, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov will have negotiations with his British counterpart Geoffrey Hoon. Military and political issues and the maintenance of strategic stability in the world are expected to dominate the negotiations agenda. According to informed sources, Sergei Ivanov's current visit to London will bring forth a number of documents, including a plan of measures for developing cooperation between the defence departments of Russia and Great Britain for 2002. In addition, London meetings with British Secretary of State for Defence Geoffrey Hoon and Home Secretary Jack Straw will raise issues of strategic stability with account for the new situation prompted by Washington's decision to unilaterally withdraw from the 1972 ABM Treaty, sources say. They claim the discussions regarding a new format of Russia-NATO relations will hardly be less detailed. In fact, in London Sergei Ivanov will be able to resume recent Brussels discussions on this issue. Geoffrey Hoon is expected to inform Sergei Ivanov about Britain's pending activities in a multinational peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan. The sides will also discuss prospects for and further cooperation in the counter-terrorist operation in Afghanistan and promotion of stabilisation in the country.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea