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10 Jan, 2024 16:44

Putin visits region bordering US (VIDEOS)

During his first ever trip to Chukotka, the Russian president met with the local governor and held a Q&A session with residents 
Putin visits region bordering US (VIDEOS)

President Vladimir Putin traveled on Wednesday to the far eastern region of Chukotka. It marked his first trip to Russia’s easternmost territory, which borders the US state of Alaska.

According to the president, the region plays a pivotal role not only for the country but for the whole world, as it is part of the Northern Sea Route, which offers the shortest path from East Asia to Western Europe, via the Arctic.    

After arriving on Wednesday, Putin said, “it’s better to see [for yourself] once, than to hear once,” noting that the visit has helped him better understand the harsh conditions people deal with in Chukotka. 

He traveled from the airport to the region’s capital, Anadyr, in a special all-terrain vehicle, as paved roads are only found in cities and towns. The rest of the region, which is in the Arctic zone, has temporary winter roads that are only passable when there is snow.    

While in Anadyr, Putin visited a multi-story greenhouse complex which provides Chukotka with fresh vegetables all year round. Such facilities are critical for the region, whose soil is mostly permafrost. Temperatures dip as low as -40C in January and rarely exceed 10C (50F) in July.

On top of that, Chukotka is one of Russia's least accessible regions. The distance between Moscow and Anadyr is nearly 6,200 kilometers – an eight-hour flight.    

Due to logistics and supply-chain factors, vegetable and fruit prices in the region are the highest in the nation. A kilogram of tomatoes costs 900 rubles ($10), while the same amount of bananas goes for 970 rubles.   

Later in the day, Putin met with the region’s governor, Vladislav Kuznetsov, and held a Q&A session with local residents.  

Among the issues raised during the event was state support for large families, to which the president promised to task the government with working out additional tax relief measures.  

About 80km (50 miles) of open sea separates mainland Russia from the US, across the Bering Strait. However, Russia’s Big Diomede Island and America’s Little Diomede Island are separated by just 3km of sea.