Russian Putin is traveling abroad for the first time since the beginning of the war in Ukraine – CNBC

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the opening ceremony of new health facilities in several regions of Russia, via video link in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 18, 2022. Sputnik / Mikhail Metzel / Kremlin via REUTERS EDITOR’S NOTE – THIS PICTURE WAS PUBLISHED BY A THIRD PARTY.

Mihail Metzel Sputnik Reuters

Vladimir Putin will visit two small former Soviet states in Central Asia this week, Russian state television reported on Sunday, the first known trip by a Russian leader abroad since ordering an invasion of Ukraine.

The February 24 Russian invasion killed thousands, displaced millions more and led to severe financial sanctions from the West, which Putin says are the reason for building stronger trade ties with other powers such as China, India and Iran.

Pavel Zarubin, a correspondent for state television Rossiya 1 in the Kremlin, said Putin would visit Tajikistan and Turkmenistan and then meet with Indonesian President Joko Widodo for talks in Moscow.

In Dushanbe, Putin will meet with Tajik President Imomali Rakhmon, a close Russian ally and the longest-serving ruler of the former Soviet state. A summit of Caspian states, including the leaders of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Iran and Turkmenistan, will attend Ashgabat, Zarubin said.

Putin’s last known trip outside Russia was a visit to Beijing in early February, where he and Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled an unrestricted friendship agreement hours before they both attended the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics.

Russia says it sent troops to Ukraine on February 24 to degrade its neighbor’s military capabilities, prevent the West from using it to threaten Russia, eradicate nationalists, and defend Russian-speaking people in the eastern regions. Ukraine calls the invasion a seizure of land in the imperial style.

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