Putin to visit Armenia next week, local paper says

Putin to visit Armenia next week, local paper says

Photo: www,kremlin.ru

According to a preliminary agreement, Russian President Vladimir Putin will arrive in Armenia on October 16, writes the Yerevan-based Zhoghovurd daily, citing its sources.

The paper says that on October 15 Putin plans to visit Tuapse in Russia’s Krasnodar Krai, where he will attend the opening ceremony of an oil refinery, after which he will leave for Armenia.

Zhoghovurd adds, however, that the information has not been finally confirmed.

No official source either in Moscow or in Yerevan has reported about Putin’s plans to visit Armenia yet.

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan has several times invited his Russian counterpart to pay a visit to Yerevan since the latter returned to the Kremlin as president in 2012. Several times such visits were announced in the past, but eventually did not take place.

In August Putin paid a visit to neighboring Azerbaijan shortly after an arms deal between Moscow and Baku worth approximately $1 billion was disclosed. Some experts said it indicated a period of “cooling” in the relations between Russia and its South Caucasus ally Armenia apparently brought on by Yerevan’s plans to initial an Association Agreement with the European Union.

Many say the situation is different now that the political leadership in Yerevan has announced its decision to join the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan and further participate in the formation of the Eurasian Economic Union that admittedly comes at the expense of deeper European integration.