Saturday will see the beginning of the Russian President's first visit to Bulgaria in the last decade. On March 1st-3rd Vladimir Putin will visit Sofia and Stara Zagora, conduct negotiations and meetings with Bulgaria's President, Prime Minister and Patriarch and address the heads of the National Assembly.
The key issue of the visit is not the boosting of bilateral relations alone. The Iraqi conflict, the Mideastern settlement, the Balkan situations and new threats and challenges will also be on the agenda of the negotiations.
Moscow points out that "Russia and Bulgaria have recently been trying to boost their cooperation in foreign policy and move from coordinated standpoints to development of coordinated measures". The Kremlin states that there is mutual adherence to intensified international cooperation on a firm foundation of basic principles and norms of the international law, according to a Kremlin spokesman.
Vladimir Putin's visit to Bulgaria will stress the vital importance of the current stage in Russian-Bulgarian relations "characterised by mutual cooperation based on pragmatism and consideration of the sides' interests", the Kremlin has reported.
The joint declaration "On Further Development of Friendly Relations and Partnership between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Bulgaria" will mark the new level of cooperation and determine priority trends of bilateral relations. The Russian and Bulgarian Presidents will sign this document during the visit.
Energy and infrastructure projects will also be the main focus of the visit. They include building of a Bourgas-Alexandrupolis pipeline and a new APP in Belen, participation in Bulgargas privatisation, gasification of a number of Bulgaria's regions, gas transportation to the neighbouring Balkan countries as well as reconstruction of a number of heat and power plants.
Russia-Bulgaria cultural dialogue will also be among the key issues. During the visit Sofia is to host the opening of the Russian Culture Days.
The Russian President's state visit is devoted to the 125th anniversary of the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-1878 and Bulgaria's liberation from the Turkish yoke. In this connection Vladimir Putin will take part in a number of ceremonies, for example, on Shipka and a memorial complex in Stara Zagora.
The United States does not recognize the entry of Ukrainian territories into Russia. Such a development will seriously complicate prospects for a diplomatic settlement