Russia to build a small nuclear power plant in Uzbekistan

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MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin and Uzbekistan leader Shavkat Mirziyoyev held talks on Monday and signed a number of agreements aimed at deepening bilateral relations, including one that envisions Moscow building a small nuclear power plant in the Central Asian country.

Mirziyoyev hailed the project as “vital” in a statement relayed through his press service after the talks, noting that Uzbekistan has “its own large reserves of uranium.” Putin, in turn, vowed to “do everything in order to work effectively on Uzbekistan’s (nuclear energy) market.”

If the agreement is implemented, the plant will become the first in Central Asia, further increasing Russia’s influence in the region.

Putin also promised to increase gas deliveries to Uzbekistan.

The talks between Putin and Mirziyoyev took place in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, where the Russian leader traveled on Sunday in his third foreign trip since being inaugurated for a fifth presidential term earlier this month.

He first went to China, where he expressed appreciation for China’s proposals for talks to end the Ukraine conflict, and later to Belarus where Russia has deployed tactical nuclear weapons.

The trips reflect the Kremlin’s ongoing effort to shore up support amid unabating tensions with the West over the conflict in Ukraine.

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