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Putin arrives on working visit to Hungary

February 17, 2015, 18:39 UTC+3 BUDAPEST

Possible extension of the current or signing a new gas supplies contract is among key subjects of his talks with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban

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BUDAPEST, February 17. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday arrived on a working visit to Hungary, where he will have talks with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, will meet with President Janos Ader and will lay flowers to the memorials to Soviet soldiers who died during the liberation of Hungary in 1945.

Upon arrival in Budapest, Putin will lay a wreath at the Unknown Soldier’s Tomb by the Millennium Monument. He will then take part in the ceremony of reopening a Soviet war memorial at Budapest’s central cemetery. The monument has undergone large-scale restoration, Russian president’s aide Yury Ushakov told journalists. "Quite naturally, this event has been timed for the 70th anniversary since the liberation of Budapest," he said. Putin will lay a wreath to the memorial to Soviet soldiers. Ushakov reminded that more than 5,000 Soviet Army servicemen were buried in the territory of the complex. Of that number, twenty-one servicemen had the title of Heroes of the Soviet Union.

Later in the day, the Russian President will have talks with Prime Minister Orban, first in a tete-a-tete format and then they will be joined by members of their delegations in the format of working dinner. The two sides are supposed to sign joint documents then, after which Orban and Putin will address a news conference.

According to Ushakov, one of the subjects of Putin’s talks in Hungary will be gas cooperation between the two countries, including possible extension of the current or signing a new gas supplies contract. "The current contract expires in December 2015 and quite obviously the situation will be discussed - either an extension of the effective document or else the sides will arrange a new one," he said. He indicated that Putin and Orban would discuss the issue in the wake of Russia’s forcible renunciation of the South Stream pipeline. "No doubt, the situation that emerged pending the European Commission’s position, which forced us to wrap up the project and to choose an alternative option, by which gas will be flowing to Europe across the Black Sea /and then via Turkey/," the Russian president’s aide noted.

Also, Putin and Orban plan to discuss construction of two new power generating units at the Paks plant. "The sides will look at practical steps under an agreement on building two new power generating units at the Hungarian nuclear plant at Paks," Ushakov said. "This project costs almost ten billion U.S. dollars and 80% of this amount is covered by a Russian loan. At present, the plant in Paks also produces 40% of Hungary’s electric power," Ushakov said.

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