Pakistani PM to visit Russia’s Putin as fears of war loom
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s prime minister will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin this week, authorities said Tuesday, as the prospect of a Russian invasion of Ukraine seemed imminent.
A statement from Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said Prime Minister Imran Khan and a high-level delegation will arrive in Russia on 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.
Western leaders said Tuesday that Russian troops have moved into rebel-held areas in eastern Ukraine after Putin recognized their independence — but some indicated it was not yet a long-feared, full-fledged invasion.
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.
Khan in an interview with Russia’s state-owned television network RT expressed hope for a resolution of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine through peaceful means. “I am hoping that this Ukrainian crisis is resolved peacefully,” he said in the interview released by the outlet on Tuesday. He said he was not a believer in military conflict.
Khan gave the interview in the capital of Islamabad ahead of his visit to Moscow.
Pakistan has good relations with Ukraine, which is an exporter of wheat to Islamabad.