Pakistan inked the first new trade agreement with Russia since the invasion of Ukraine on March 1, making it the first big country to back president Vladimir Putin.
Following a meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin on February 24, Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan announced that his country will purchase around 2 million tonnes of wheat and natural gas from Russia, the Daily Mail reported.
The trade deal was announced despite Russia facing international isolation and a raft of sanctions crippling its economy. PM Imran Khan has defended potentially pumping billions into the Kremlin’s coffers, saying that the decision was taken in the economic interest of Pakistan and the country ‘required it’, the report said.
“We went there because we have to import 2 million tonnes of wheat from Russia. Secondly, we have signed agreements with them to import natural gas because Pakistan’s own gas reserves are depleting,” the Pakistan PM said.
He added: “Inshallah (God willing), the time will tell that we have had great discussions.”
Putin on March 1 moved to block foreign companies pulling out of Russia and trap their cash to prop up their imploding war economy after BP and Shell pledged to sell $20 billion of joint ventures following the invasion of Ukraine.
Russian prime minister Mikhail Mishustin announced that a presidential order has been signed as western countries stepped up sanctions, the Russian Ruble crashed to an all-time low and Russians queued night and day to pull cash from ATMs amid a run on the banks.