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Iraq Prime Minister to pay official visit to Russia next week

October 6, 2023 at 3:57 pm

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani in Baghdad, Iraq on January 21, 2023 [IRAQI PRIME MINISTRY PRESS OFFICE/Anadolu Agency]

Iraqi Prime Minister, Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani, will pay an official visit to Russia on 10-11 October,  Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said on Friday, Anadolu Agency reports.

Peskov told a news conference in Moscow that Sudani will first hold talks with Russian President, Vladimir Putin, on Tuesday, and the next day will attend a plenary session of Russian Energy Week, an international forum to address the most pressing issues in the global energy sector.

The forum has been held since 2017, and over 2,500 guests from more than 50 countries and territories have confirmed their participation in this year’s event, according to its website.

Turning to plans to withdraw from the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), Peskov said the move is aimed at levelling positions with the US; Moscow ratified the agreement but Washington did not.

“This does not mean we have intentions to carry out nuclear tests,” he said.

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The CTBT bans all nuclear explosions, whether for military or peaceful purposes.

Peskov also declined Ukraine’s claims about Russia’s attack on civilian targets in Kharkiv region, saying: “The Russian military does not strike civilian targets. Strikes are carried out on military infrastructure facilities, places where military personnel and representatives of the military leadership gather.”

Asked about the investigation into a plane crash that killed head of Wagner paramilitary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, Peskov said it is continuing and results will be announced once it is completed.

Speaking on Thursday at the Valdai Discussion Club in Russia’s resort city of Sochi, Putin said head of the Russian Investigative Committee, Aleksandr Bastrykin, told him fragments of hand grenades were found in the bodies of those killed in the crash, but there was no external impact on the aircraft.

Prigozhin and other commanders died in the 23 August plane crash, two months after Wagner attempted a short-lived rebellion against the Russian government.

Wagner has had a rising international profile in recent years through its deployment in Africa, as well as in Ukraine, where Moscow launched a “special military operation” in February 2022.

Last week, Putin met Andrey Troshev, the group’s former commander, and ordered him to form voluntary military units for the Ukraine war.

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