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Pope Francis will receive Russian President Vladimir Putin on November 25.

The meeting, announced by the Vatican on November 7, will be their first since the pontiff was elected.

Putin has previously met with Francis's predecessor, Pope Benedict, and the late Pope John Paul II.

Relations between Moscow and the Vatican have been strained since the breakup of the Soviet Union.

The Russian Orthodox Church accuses the Catholic Church of seeking converts among its believers, a charge the Vatican denies.

John Paul died in 2005 without fulfilling his dream of visiting Russia in the hope of improving relations.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP