Russia writes off Uzbek debt in attempt to strengthen ties

Russia writes off Uzbek debt: Russia today wrote off $865m owed to it by Uzbekistan as President Vladimir Putin sought to bolster ties with the former Soviet republic during a one-day visit to  Tashkent. Presidential aide Yury Ushakov said that the settling of  the debt would enable  Russia to increase sales of arms and military equipment to Uzbekistan, while following the talks Putin indicated that the two sides had begun a consultation process over the possibility of creating a Free Trade Zone between Uzbekistan and the EEU which comes into existence at the beginning of next month. Up till now, Uzbekistan has been firmly keeping its distance from the new trading bloc. The Moscow Times