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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Touts Poland Trade, Energy Exports a 'Priority'

APPolish Prime Minister Leszek Miller speaking with Putin during their meeting Thursday.
President Vladimir Putin said Thursday he hoped to develop good economic ties with Poland, which has a large trade imbalance with Russia.

Putin met with visiting Polish Prime Minister Leszek Miller in the Kremlin and said he hoped "a good basis will be set up for the development of economic ties between the two countries."

Russia and Poland are seeking to improve relations that suffered following the end of the Cold War and Warsaw's shift to the West, including its joining of NATO in 1999. Poland hopes to join the European Union in 2004, further cementing its integration with the West.

"For my Cabinet, the development of good relations with Russia is one of the top foreign policy priorities," Miller said.

Earlier this week, Miller's foreign policy adviser, Tadeusz Iwinski, said Poland wants to expand and restructure its trade with Russia, in part to reduce a bilateral trade deficit totaling more than $3 billion per year.

Polish imports from Russia amount to about $4 billion per year, primarily in gas, oil and other raw materials. Exports to Russia amount to only about $800 million, mainly food.

Russian energy exports to Poland were mentioned as a priority sector in the bilateral economic declaration Miller later signed with Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov. "We consider the signing of this document very important," Putin told Miller.

Miller said after the signing that the declaration would help boost economic ties by encouraging direct contacts between Russian and Polish regions.

Miller was also set to discuss the future of Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave where high drug use and corruption are rampant, that borders northeastern Poland.

Putin is due to visit Warsaw on Jan. 16-17 -- the anniversary of the Soviet Red Army's seizure of Warsaw from the Nazis in 1945, and some Poles have raised their eyebrows at what they consider an odd choice of dates for the visit.