Islamabad: Russia says it “strongly” supports the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project as it is crucial for Pakistan’s economy and regional connectivity.

According to an interview on Radio Pakistan, this was stated by the Russian Ambassador to Pakistan, Alexey Y Dedov.

Dedov pointed out that CPEC is a component of China’s Silk Road and that Russia was also working on a similar Eurasian Economic Union. He added that China and Russia were holding discussions to merge the two projects.

Asked about Pakistan’s North-South gas pipeline project, the Russian Ambassador said they were eager to finalise the project at the soonest.

The ambassador said the two countries were closely cooperating in different areas but there was a need to enhance the volume of bilateral trade.

About the MI-35 gunship helicopter deal between the two countries, he said the contract had already been signed and it was now for the officials concerned to define a time frame for the purpose.

Replying to a question, the Russian ambassador said his country wanted Pakistan and India to resolve all issues including Jammu and Kashmir through peaceful means.

He said Pakistan and Russia were also closely cooperating in efforts for restoration of peace in Afghanistan.