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Putin to visit Bulgaria on January 18

Date: 18.12.2007
Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Bulgaria next month, foreign ministry spokesman Dimitar Tsanchev said. "Russia's President will visit Bulgaria on January 18," Tsanchev said, without giving any further details. Next year, Bulgaria celebrates the 130th anniversary of its liberation by the Russian army from five centuries of Ottoman domination. Putin last visited Bulgaria five years ago for the 125th anniversary celebrations. Monday said Putin's visit would be marked by the signing of two major contracts. The first concerns the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline, which will transport gas from Russia under the Black Sea to Bulgaria and then on to Italy and Germany. Bulgaria is totally dependent on Russia for its supplies of oil and natural gas. It has already signed an agreement with Russia and Greece to build another trans-Balkan pipeline to transport Russian oil from the Caspian Sea to the Aegean, avoiding the busy Bosphorus Strait. The second contract concerns the return to Russia of Bulgaria's spent fuel from its nuclear power plant in Kozloduy, press reports said. Russia's company Atomstroiexport signed a 4.0-billion-euro (5.8-billion-dollar) contract last year to build another 2,000-megawatt nuclear power plant on the Danube east of Kozloduy. The first of the plant's two 1,000-megawatt reactors is expected to be operational in 2014. Last year, Russia invested a total of 4.3 billion euros in Bulgaria.
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