Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is on a working visit to Britain, is having a second round of talks with British Premier Tony Blair today. The meeting, which is intended as an informal one, will be held in the country residence of Chequers 80 km away from London. During a joint press conference held on December 21, Putin and Blair reported that their talks focus on Russia-NATO relations, measures to combat terrorism, the situation in Afghanistan, bilateral trade and economic links between Russia and Great Britain, and issues related to global strategic stability, including anti-missile defence. Vladimir Putin is expected back in Moscow on Saturday, December 22. It is the ninth meeting between the leaders of Russia and Britain since February, 2000, when Tony Blair and his wife Cherie paid a visit to St. Petersburg at the invitation of President Putin.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the termination of diplomatic relations with NATO at a time when US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ended a meeting in Georgia with his counterpart