Tsipras heads for crunch Kremlin talks with Putin

Greek prime minister makes controversial visit as Moscow says it is is willing to offer cheap gas and loans to his cash-starved government

Greek PM Tsipras delivers a speech at the Health Ministry in Athens

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras arrived in Moscow last night and is due to meet Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev later today.

His visit comes at a particularly sensitive time in the country’s protracted bail-out negotiations. Greece faces a crunch 450m loan repayment to the IMF – one which some members of the Leftist government have threatened to renege on.

According to reports in the Russia media, Moscow is willing to provide a credit line to Athens, as well as a deal on easing a food export ban and discounting natural gas. In return, the Russians have touted the idea of taking a stake in some of Greece’s national travel and power companies.