September 23, 2023

Pakistani PM to visit with Russia’s Putin as war fears loom

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s prime minister will meet with President Vladimir Putin this week, authorities said Tuesday, as Russia loomed over Ukraine and an invasion seemed imminent.

A statement from Pakistan’s foreign ministry said Prime Minister Imran Khan and a high-level delegation will arrive in Russia Wednesday for a two-day official visit.

“Pakistan and Russia enjoy friendly relations marked by mutual respect, trust and convergence of views on a range of international and regional issues,” the statement said. It added that Putin and Khan “will review the entire array of bilateral relations including energy cooperation,” as well as unnamed regional and international issues.

The summit comes as much of the West aligns against Putin amid increasing fears of a war that could cause massive casualties, energy shortages on the continent and chaos around the world.

On Monday, Putin ordered forces into separatist regions of eastern Ukraine. His vaguely-worded decree did not say if troops were on the move and it cast the order as an effort to “maintain peace.”

The Foreign Ministry statement said Pakistan and Russia will exchange views on major regional and international issues, including Islamophobia and the situation in Afghanistan. The statement made no mention of the Ukraine crisis. But Khan has opposed any military intervention, saying all issues can be resolved through talks and negotiations.

Pakistan has good relations with Ukraine, which is an exporter of wheat to Islamabad.

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