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Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry has refuted rumours claiming Prime Minister Imran Khan's visit to Russia is being cancelled.

In a tweet on Thursday, the minister said speculations about the PM's visit are misplaced.

"The visit is proceeding and PM will return to Pakistan tonight as per schedule," he tweeted

His statement comes as rumours floated that the Pakistan prime minister may cut short his tour after Russian President Vladimir Putin authorised a military operation in eastern Ukraine on Thursday in what appeared to be the start of war in Europe over Russia's demands for an end to NATO's eastward expansion.

Russia's defence ministry also said on Thursday it had taken out military infrastructure at Ukraine's air bases and "suppressed" its air defences, Russian news agencies reported.

Fawad added that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples Party were scared of PM's visit to Russia because "they had a lot of money in the West".

Meanwhile, the PM visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to pay tribute to the Soviet soldiers killed during World War II. He also laid floral wreath at the monument in Moscow.

During his visit, the PM is scheduled to meet President Putin and discuss issues including economic cooperation.

PM Imran arrives in Russia on 'historic' visit

PM Imran will push for the construction of a long-delayed, multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline to be built in collaboration with Russian companies, an official had told Reuters.

This story was first published in Business Recorder on February 24, 2022.