Russia's Putin Iran's Raisi in Turkmenistan for summit

STORY: As well as meeting Turkmenistan's president, Serdar Berdymukhamedov, Putin is attending a summit of Caspian nations which also includes the leaders of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Iran.

Putin held talks in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, with his Tajik counterpart, Emomali Rahmon, on Tuesday with security issues said to be at the centre of their discussions. Rahmon is a close Russian ally and the longest-serving ruler of a former Soviet state.

Putin's last known trip outside Russia was a visit to Beijing in early February, where he and Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled a "no limits" friendship treaty hours before both attended the opening ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games.

Russia says it sent troops into Ukraine on February 24 to degrade its neighbour's military capabilities, keep it from being used by the West to threaten Russia, root out nationalists and defend Russian-speakers in eastern regions.

Ukraine and the West say what Moscow calls its "special military operation" is in fact an imperial-style land grab.