by Marianna Mkrtchyan
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is paying an official visit to Armenia, has attended an Armenian-Russian business forum in Gyumri.
The press service of the Armenian President reports that Putin is being accompanied by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, Education and Science Minister Dmitry Livanov, Energy Minister Alexander Novak, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Regional Development Minister Igor Slyunyayev, Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov, Agriculture Minister Nikolay Fyodorov, Deputy Defense Minister Arkady Bakhin, Deputy Economic Development Minister Alexey Likhachev, Head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Alexander Fomin, Head of Rosatom Sergey Kiriyenko, Head of the Federal Agency for Tourism Alexander Radkov, CEO of Rosneft Igor Sechin, CEO of VTB Bank Andrey Kostin, CEO of Gazprom Alexey Miller, Vice President of Russian Railways Valery Reshetnikov and other officials.
After being welcomed at Shirak Airport, President Putin together with his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sargsyan Sargsyan went to Vardan Ajemyan Drama Theater to open "Russia. Armenia. Customs Union" inter-regional forum, attended by almost 500 regional officials and businessmen from Russia and Armenia.
Before that the presidents attended an exhibition of Armenian and Russian regions aimed at fostering inter-regional cooperation between Armenia and Russia now that Armenia is going to join the Customs Union.
During the forum the presidents watched live the launch of the 5th unit of Hrazdan Thermal Power Plant.
They also attended the cancellation of postage stamps issued on the occasion of 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The stamps picture the sports Armenia will take part in during the games – cross-country skiing and Alpine skiing.
After the forum the presidents will lay flowers at Spitak Earthquake Memorial and will visit the 102nd Russian military base.
At the end of the visit the parties will make a joint statement.