The Pakistani leader is in Moscow to meet Putin about a gas pipeline.

Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan will meet Russian President Vladimir V. Putin in Moscow on Thursday for a long-planned visit, which begins hours before Russian forces attack Ukraine.

Mr. Khan intends to promote a billion-dollar gas pipeline built by Pakistani and Russian companies, according to media reports in Pakistan.

And while some commentators called the visit untimely and said it would be cut short, Pakistan’s information minister say on Twitter that it will go as planned, with Mr Khan due to return to Pakistan late on Thursday.

Gas is an important export for Russia, and Germany on Monday stopped certifying Nord Stream 2 The pipeline connects the country with Russia in response to the Kremlin’s recognition of two breakaway regions in Ukraine. That could increase the importance of other Russian gas supply outlets.

Mr. Khan, in a interview broadcast on Tuesday, avoided criticizing Moscow’s policy in Ukraine and said he hoped the crisis could be resolved peacefully.

“What we want to do is not become part of any bloc,” he said in an interview with the Moscow-controlled broadcaster RT with Russian media. “We want to have trade relations with all countries.”

He said that sanctions against Iran have contributed to the delay in the construction of the pipeline.

The US State Department said it was aware of Khan’s visit and hoped Pakistan and all countries would voice their objections to Mr Putin’s actions in Ukraine, especially given the longstanding partnership between Islamabad. and Washington.

Ned Price, a Foreign Office Spokesperson, said at a news conference on Wednesday that Washington hopes “every country in the world will make that position clear in clear language in their commitments to the Russian Federation.”

In Moscow, Khan laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a war memorial dedicated to Soviet troops who died in World War II, according to the Associated Press, his first visit. of a Pakistani leader. to Moscow for two decades. The Pakistani leader is in Moscow to meet Putin about a gas pipeline.

Fry Electronics Team

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