Putin touts Russian investments during Azerbaijan visit

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev shake hands during their meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has visited Azerbaijan and hailed the increasingly close economic ties between the two ex-Soviet neighbors.

Putin said during Thursday’s visit to Baku that Russian companies have created 700 joint ventures in Azerbaijan and their investments in the oil-rich Caspian nation have exceeded $1.5 billion.

Addressing a business forum with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Putin noted that Russia’s top oil company, Rosneft, is set to tap oilfields in Azerbaijan in cooperation with its state oil company.

Russia has sought to maintain friendly ties with both Azerbaijan and Armenia, which remain locked in a conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Nagorno-Karabakh is a region of Azerbaijan that has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a war there ended in 1994.

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