Russian President Putin Arrives in Uzbekistan for Talks Amid Limited Foreign Travel

TASHKENT – Russian President Vladimir Putin, on his third foreign trip since his re-election in March, arrived in Uzbekistan on Sunday for a meeting with his counterpart, Shavkat Mirziyoyev. The visit underscores Russia’s intent to bolster ties with its ex-Soviet neighbor amidst international tensions.

Putin was greeted by Mirziyoyev upon arrival in Tashkent in the evening, and the two leaders traveled together in a single car, emphasizing the camaraderie between their nations. Photos and videos on the Kremlin’s website and Russian news agencies captured Putin visiting the New Uzbekistan park, where he laid a wreath at a monument to Uzbek independence.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, speaking to Russian television, highlighted the potential for enhanced cooperation between Russia and Uzbekistan, particularly in gas supplies, stating, “the possibilities here are very extensive.”

Since his re-election, Putin has also visited China and Belarus. These trips mark his limited international travel since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The invasion has led to significant global backlash and heightened scrutiny of Putin’s actions.

The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Putin in March last year, accusing him of illegally deporting hundreds of children from Ukraine. The Kremlin has strongly denied these allegations.

Putin’s visit to Uzbekistan aims to fortify diplomatic and economic relations, signaling Russia’s continued influence in the region. The formal talks between Putin and Mirziyoyev are expected to address various bilateral issues, with a focus on energy cooperation and regional security.

As Russia navigates its complex geopolitical landscape, strengthening alliances with neighboring countries like Uzbekistan remains a strategic priority for Putin’s administration.