MOSCOW—Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Wednesday arrived in the Russian capital to attend the opening ceremony of the 2018 World Cup, before which he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, his second meeting with the Russian leader since taking office on May 8.
The focus of the meeting was strengthening relations between Armenia and Russia, both viewing the other as a strategic partner. Pashinyan said the fact that this was his second meeting with Putin in one month, attests to the important place Russia occupies for the Armenian government.
He assured Putin that some of the agreements that were reached during their meeting on May 14 are already being implemented in Armenia and expressed hope for continued opportunities to discuss matters of mutual importance—economy, politics, regional stability—in person.
“Everybody knows that the scope of our relations [with Russia] is rather broad and there is much to be discussed in terms of the economy, politics and the region. Of course, we hope for a positive and constructive dialogue and we have made sure that it is such on our end,” said Pashinyan.
Putin emphasized the critical role Russia plays as Armenia’s leading trade partner.
“Given the strategic nature of our relations and the great scope of cooperation in different areas, I think meetings between the two nations are warranted. The first thing I would like to note is that Russia continues to confidently preserve its leading position in terms of trade with Armenia. Last year trade turnover between our countries increased by over 30 percent, and the growth continues this year as well,” said Putin.
He emphasized that the trade centers on Armenian agricultural exports to Russia, adding that Armenia’s membership in the Eurasian Economic Union has played a positive role in advancing relations between the two countries.
Pashinyan, who arrived in Moscow with his wife, Anna Hakopyan were greeted upon deplaning by Zabivaka (literally meaning goal-scorer), the official mascot of the 2018 FIFA World Cup
Zabivaka and Pashinyan kicked around a soccer ball and posed for photographs. Pashinyan and his delegation will attend the opening ceremony of the World Cup and view the first match at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow.