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Putin to hold talks with Bulgarian president to discuss bilateral ties

May 22, 2:42 UTC+3 MOSCOW

During the talks, the sides plan to discuss prospects of bilateral cooperation in various areas and exchange views on topical international and regional issues

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MOSCOW, May 22. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet in Sochi on Tuesday with his Bulgarian counterpart Rumen Radev, who is paying a working visit to Russia, the Kremlin press service said.

During the talks, the sides plan to discuss prospects of bilateral cooperation in various areas and exchange views on topical international and regional issues.

"On May 22, 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet in Sochi with President of the Republic of Bulgaria Rumen Radev, who will be on a working visit to Russia to attend the events devoted to the 140th anniversary of Bulgaria’s liberation in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878," the press service noted.

The Bulgarian leader’s press service said at the meeting the presidents will focus on the prospects of developing relations between Bulgaria and Russia in economy, energy, education, culture and also vital international security issues.

On Monday, Radev met in Moscow with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and announced that Bulgaria expects that the possibility of direct gas supplies from Russia to this country via the Black Sea would be reviewed. He said the security of energy supplies was very important for Sofia and for the EU as a whole.

On December 1, 2014, during his visit to Ankara, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia was abandoning the South Stream gas pipeline project, which was to be laid along the Black Sea to Bulgaria in order to supply gas to the countries of Southern and Central Europe. This decision was made as the project faced opposition from the European Commission, which demanded bringing it into line with the European antimonopoly legislation. At the same time, it was announced that it would be replaced with a similarly powerful pipeline that would pass through Turkey (it was later was called the Turkish Stream project).

Economic relations with Bulgaria

After Russian-Bulgarian annual trade turnover declined from $5 bln to $2.1 bln in 2013-2015, it started growing again reaching $3.4 bln by late 2017. In January-March 2018, this figure stood at $882.3 mln, a nearly 8% decrease compared with last year.

According to the Russian Central Bank, as of October 1, 2017 Bulgaria’s direct investment to Russia was estimated at $87 mln, and Russia’s direct investment to Bulgaria reached $3.3 bln.

Russia’s oil company Lukoil invested $2.8 bln in Bulgaria’s economy. According to experts, Russian citizens have invested some $5 bln in Bulgaria’s real estate. Russian citizens in Bulgaria officially own 74,000 real estate items, Bulgaria’s Registry Agency of the Justice Ministry said.

In 2017, nearly 560,000 Russian tourists visited Bulgaria.

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