Russia’s economic relationship with Slovakia was centre-stage in talks between President Vladimir Putin and the Slovakian leadership.The day after Putin met US President George W Bush in Bratislava, he spoke business with the Slovakian prime minister and president. Slovakia joined the EU last year and the Kremlin is concerned it will lose trade to Europe. Putin said it was important for Russia that Slovakia – which has chosen closer integration with the EU and NATO – maintains its deep ties with Russia. Earlier Putin had paid his respects at a memorial to Soviet soldiers who died liberating Slovakia from Nazi Germany. About 7,000 soldiers are buried at the site. The visit came as Putin prepares to host commemorations in May for the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.