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Putin to meet Imran Khan in three-hour-long meeting amid Ukraine crisis

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MOSCOW: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in a one-on-one three-hour-long meeting today at 3 pm Pakistan time, amid the Ukraine-Russia crisis. 

Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in Moscow on a two-day official visit yesterday, where he was received at the airport by Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister and presented with a guard of honor at the airport.

Imran Khan will discuss issues including economic cooperation hours after a number of Western nations hit Russia with new sanctions for its military deployment into parts of eastern Ukraine.

PM Imran Khan will push for the construction of a long-delayed, multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline to be built in collaboration with Russian companies, an official said.

“Both countries are eager to launch the project at the earliest,” Pakistan’s energy ministry spokesman told Reuters about the Pakistan Stream gas pipeline. He confirmed that Energy Minister Hammad Azhar is accompanying Khan on the visit.

The 1,100 km (683 miles)-long pipeline, also known as the North-South gas pipeline, was initially agreed to in 2015 and was to be financed by both Moscow and Islamabad, using a Russian company to construct it.

In an interview ahead of his trip, PM Imran Khan had expressed concern about the situation in Ukraine and the possibility of new sanctions and their effect on Islamabad’s budding cooperation with Moscow.

It is unclear how the latest sanctions will affect the project, which would deliver imported Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) from Karachi on the Arabian Sea coast to power plants in Punjab.

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