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Putin eyes Argentine energy in third stop of Latin American tour

Published on Jul 13, 2014 1:30 AM

BUENOS AIRES (AFP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin is visiting Argentina Saturday on a tour aimed at tapping Latin American natural resources and increasing Moscow's regional influence amid a post-Cold War low in East-West relations.

Mr Putin said ahead of his visit he was keen to offer increased Russian investment and trade in exchange for oil and minerals, and analysts say he likely has his eye on Argentina's massive Vaca Muerta shale oil field, potentially one of the largest finds in history.

Argentine President Cristina Kirchner for her part could desperately use Russian investment at a time when her government is fighting to stay solvent, locked out of capital markets since defaulting on its debt in 2001.

Ms Kirchner will be looking to enlist Mr Putin's backing for her fight against hedge funds refusing to accept the restructuring of the country's defaulted debt.

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