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

ISLAMABAD — 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 by Pakistan’s foreign minister said that Prime Minister Imran Khan will be visiting Russia with a delegation of high-ranking officials Wednesday to conduct a two-day 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. The statement stated that Khan and Putin would “review the whole array of bilateral relations, including energy cooperation,” and other unnamed international and regional 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 directed forces to enter the separatist areas 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 Ukraine crisis was not mentioned in the statement. Khan said that any military intervention is not an option and all matters can be solved through negotiations and talks.

Pakistan enjoys good relations with Ukraine. Ukraine is an importer of wheat to Islamabad.

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