The increasingly complicated situation in the world and in the region is pushing Russia and Central Asia to intensify cooperation, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday.
Speaking at the first ever summit in the Russia-Central Asia format, Putin said Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan face similar challenges and have historically established ties that may help to overcome them.
He said there are "attempts from the outside" to hinder the development of the Russian-Asian cooperation, and to disrupt the cooperation in politics, economics and the humanitarian sphere that have developed throughout history.
"Now, indeed, truly coordinated joint steps by our countries are in great demand, both to build up alliance and strategic partnership, and to increase the stability of our economies," he said.
Putin urged the Central Asian countries to join Russia's import substitution initiatives, stating that it will benefit the development of economies and will lead to acquiring new skills.
"The Eurasian Development Bank effectively contributes to the support of the national economies of the EAEU (Eurasian Economic Union) members. The total volume of its investments over the next five years will amount to almost $11 billion," he said.
Russia and its Central Asian partners have already started the process of reconfiguring financial systems, eliminating the unnecessary participation of Western companies, the president said.
"We are already switching to using well-established Russian financial message transmission systems, similar national systems of your countries, in mutual settlements under contracts," he said.
He added that Russia is ready to help in the restoration of the united Central Asian energy system.
"Cooperation between Russia and the countries of the (Central Asian) 'five' in the field of energy security is deepening. (...) In particular, our country is ready to provide practical assistance in restoring the unified energy system of Central Asia, which will certainly increase the energy security of all countries in the region," he said.
The Russian president also highlighted the common security challenges, including the situation in Afghanistan.
"Western intelligence services, primarily American and British, are fueling the formations opposing the Taliban, aiming them at shelling the borders of some of our countries. We are aware of the risks and threats associated with this, and therefore maintain the necessary level of contacts with the leadership of the Taliban movement," he said.
Putin further said that it is in the interests of the Central Asian countries to prevent a relapse of the civil war in Afghanistan.