Answering a RIA Novosti question at a Wednesday briefing in Downing Street, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw announced that London's initiative to considerably improve relations between Russia and NATO had been previously discussed with the USA and other NATO allies. According to him, Tony Blair, George Bush and the leaders of other NATO countries had earlier discussed this initiative which was voiced in a letter the British Prime Minister sent last Friday to President Vladimir Putin and the leaders of NATO member-countries. Straw said the leaders of NATO countries welcomed Tony Blair's initiative, which would also be discussed during a visit by NATO Secretary General George Robertson to Moscow beginning today. According to the British Foreign Secretary, "the new format stipulates fewer formalities and more concrete dialogue on practical issues" of NATO-Russia relations.
More than 3,500 people were detained during unprecedented mass protests that swept across all of Russia in support of Alexey Navalny on January 23