Thursday, May 31, 2012 -
Newly re-elected Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan as he embarks on his first trip abroad since his inauguration to his third presidential term on May 7.
First on the list is Belarus, one of the three founding members of the customs union (the other two are Russia and Kazakhstan).
Putin arrived in the Belarusian capital Minsk on Thursday, to meet with prickly Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko.
The Russian president will then continue onto German capital Berlin on Friday to meet with German leaders, while stopping over in Paris on Friday afternoon to meet with newly elected French President Francois Hollande.
Putin will then head to St. Petersburg, where he will continue international talks during the Russia-EU summit.
Uzbekistan will then welcome the jet-setting Russian leader on Monday, as Putin takes Uzbek President Islam Karimov up on his invitation for a visit.
Following this visit, Putin will head to Beijing for two days to meet with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao and attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit meeting.
Putin will then arrive in Kazakhstan on June 5 and will leave for Moscow on June 6.
The inclusive trip reflects Putin’s desire to strengthen his Eurasian Economic Union and bring post-Soviet leaders closer into the fold, some analysts say.