Russian president Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Erdogan today opened the Turkstream oil pipeline in Istanbul.
The 930km pipeline, which crosses the Black Sea, will carry oil to southern Europe in a move that will allow Russia to reduce its shipments via Ukraine.
In recent years the two countries have grown closer through a combination of security and energy commitments.
Putin described the pipeline as a sign of “interaction and cooperation for the benefit of our people and the people of all Europe, the whole world.”
The leaders of Serbia and Bulgaria were also present at the ceremony.
Russia has been seeking to bypass Ukraine due to an ongoing deterioration in relations as a result of Russia’s annexing of Crimea in 2014.
As part of the strategy, Russia is also doubling the capacity of the Baltic Nordstream pipeline.
The controversial Nordstream 2 pipeline was finally approved by Denmark in October, two years after approval had been sought.
Last month the US Senate approved a defence bill imposing sanctions on the two pipelines, in a bid to “to deter Russian aggression.”
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The two leaders used the inauguration to call for a ceasefire in Libya, where they have been backing opposing sides in the current hostilities.