Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan had to end a two-day visit to Russia after the US reacted harshly to his trip amid a “special military operation” in eastern Ukraine that the country instead described as a “full-scale invasion”.
Mr Khan had reached Moscow on Wednesday, but it was reported on Thursday that he would be ending his visit, the first such trip by a Pakistani prime minister in 20 years.
The trip became a potential embarrassment for Mr Khan as soon as he landed in Moscow. The prime minister was heard in a video clip telling Russian officials felicitating him upon arrival that it was a time of “so much excitement”.
“What a time I have come… so much excitement,” Mr Khan can be heard saying in the clip doing the rounds on social media.
The US, reacting to the news of Mr Khan’s visit said that the onus was on every “responsible” country to voice objection to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
Ned Price, the US state department spokesperson, said on Wednesday: “We believe it’s a responsibility of every responsible country (sic) around the world to voice concern, to voice objection, to what Putin appears to have in mind for Ukraine.”
The Pakistani prime minister was supposed to be in Moscow to meet Mr Putin and talk about economic cooperation and his country’s energy needs.
“Islamabad’s best hope for PM Khan’s Russia visit is that there are limited public aspects to the programme, that Khan doesn’t make any gaffes and say the U word in…