Alexis Tsipras Vladimir Putin .jpg
Photograph: EPA/ALEXANDROS VLACHOS

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Athens Friday for a two-day visit to Greece with trade, energy, migration and Moscow's relations with NATO on the agenda.

Putin and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras signed a deal on the Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline in 2015, but tensions between Moscow and Ankara sidelined the project.

Moscow's relations with Turkey are strained over the civil war in Syria, where they back opposing sides, and with NATO - of which both Greece and Turkey are members - over various issues, mainly the alliance's expansion into former Soviet states.

Ahead of the visit, Putin said that he would love to revive the pipeline plan. In a letter published online by the Athens daily Ekathimerini, he also said Russia is interested in buying Greece's railway operator Trainose and the Thessaloniki port.

On Saturday, Putin is due to visit Mount Athos, also known as the Holy Mountain, on a peninsula in the Aegean, which is home to numerous monasteries and sacred sites for Orthodox Christians.

He is scheduled to visit Saint Panteleimon Monastery and the mostly Russian monks who have resided there for a full millennium this year.

At the monastery he is expected to be joined by the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, who arrived in Thessaloniki earlier Friday.

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