Putin will meet with the presidents of Afghanistan, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan while in Astana (file photo) (epa)
10 January 2006 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, where he is due to attend the inauguration of President Nursultan Nazarbaev tomorrow.
Putin traveled to Kazakhstan with former Russian President Boris Yeltsin, whom Nazarbaev also invited to attend the ceremony.
Russia's ITAR-TASS news agency reported that Putin will hold separate talks with Nazarbaev, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
Putin and Nazarbaev are expected to sign several economic agreements.
With Yushchenko, the Russian president is due to discuss energy cooperation. It will be the first face-to-face meeting between the two presidents since the gas dispute between their two countries led to shortfalls in Europe.
Last week the two sides reached a controversial deal that Ukraine's parliament cited today when it voted to dismiss Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov's cabinet.