The Russian leader will hold a series of bilateral talks on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting

Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Astana where the leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member and observer states are expected to discuss a wide range of global and regional issues on July 3-4.

The Russian president’s plane landed in Astana around 5am local time on Wednesday, according to the Kremlin.

Putin’s program “includes a range of very important bilateral contacts,” as Moscow considers the summit in Astana to be a good opportunity for talks with the leaders who will attend it, according to foreign policy aide Yury Ushakov.

Ahead of the main protocol events, Putin is expected to meet the leaders of Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Mongolia – as well as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Xi Jinping of China. The Russian leader is also expected to hold talks with Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

The SCO was founded in 2001, and initially included Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. In 2017 the organization was joined by India and Pakistan, while Tehran became a full-fledged member in 2023.

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