KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) – Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan left for Moscow on Wednesday for a two-day visit to Russia amid escalating tensions in the region.
During his maiden trip, Khan will meet President Vladimir Putin and other Russian leaders, including the deputy prime minister, as well as local businessmen and investors, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.
He will also pay a visit to Russia’s largest mosque and Islamic center in Moscow.
The two leaders, according to the statement, will discuss international and regional affairs, Islamophobia and Afghanistan, and bilateral relations with a focus on energy issues.
This is the first trip to Russia by a Pakistani prime minister since 1999, and it comes at a time when Moscow is at odds with the West over Ukraine.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, National Security Adviser Moeed Yousuf and other Cabinet members are accompanying him.
Khan’s visit is also significant as Pakistan’s relations with the US, a longtime ally, are becoming increasingly frosty, mainly due to the Afghanistan issue and Islamabad’s growing economic and defense partnership with China.
Islamabad was a close partner of Washington during the Cold War and played an instrumental role in Russia’s ouster from neighboring Afghanistan in 1989.