Washington: US and Britain have cautiously welcomed Russia's announcement to launch an investigation into allegations of fraud in Duma elections held on December 4.

"The fact that the government has announced that it is willing to investigate allegations of fraud and manipulation associated with the December 4 Duma elections is a good sign and a reassuring position for the Russian people," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters at a joint news conference with her British counterpart William Hague.

"But the proof is in the pudding. We'll wait and see how they conduct such an investigation, what the consequences are.

They have a good road map coming from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation (OSCE), which has set forth a number of recommendations," Clinton said.

"We're supportive of the announcement of investigations, and now we hope that it will be followed through on," she added.

Hague said a lot depends on how the investigation is conducted.

"It's important that such investigations take place. So I think it is right, to welcome the willingness of the Russian government to do that.

Clearly, as nations that believe in democracy and freedom of speech, in political freedom, we want to see such investigation take place as transparently and as fully as possible," he said in response to a question.

Earlier in the day, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the demonstrations that occurred in Moscow and in many other Russian cities last Saturday represent a very positive sign to all those who support the democratic process.

"Russian government authorities allowed the demonstrations to take place and refrained from interfering in them.

Russian demonstrators abided by the law and held peaceful meetings.    Both the Russian government and society leaders seemed to be looking for a dialogue," he said.

"We are encouraged by (Russian) President (Dmitry) Medvedev's commitment to have the central election commission investigate all election violations, and we welcome what appears to be a new era of tolerance for the freedom of assembly," Carney said.