Moscow, Nov 14 (IANS) Relations between Russia and Turkey are nearly back to the level they were prior to the Turkish downing of a Russian warplane over Syria two years ago, the presidents of both countries have said.

"I'm going to emphasize that our relations can be considered re-established almost in their entirety," Vladimir Putin said on Monday, welcoming Recep Tayyip Erdogan to his vacation home in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Efe news reported.

Trade between the two nations increased by more than a third during the first nine months of this year after a sharp decline in 2016, the Russian leader said.

"Our bilateral relations and cooperation in resolving regional issues provide us with an opportunity to look toward the future together," Erdogan said.

Russia, however, still maintains the import ban on some Turkish products that was imposed after the downing of the Russian fighter.

Moscow has deployed military force in Syria to support the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, while Turkey has backed elements within the armed Syrian opposition.

--IANS

pgh/