Russia and Israel are planning to ink a free trade agreement in the very near future, a Kremlin official is quoted as telling the Russian news agency TASS on Friday.According to Russia’s deputy agriculture minister, Sergey Levin, discussions on the matter with his Israeli counterparts have progressed to the point where an agreement is expected to be reached."We’ve discussed the prospects of forming a free trade zone, which the government plans to put on paper within the shortest period of time," Levin said.News of an imminent deal was confirmed by Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel. The two sides plan to consummate the agreement, which entails the establishment of joint ventures in the field of agriculture and hi-tech.Russia also plans to boost the amount of wheat, meat, and eggs that it sells to Israel while Israel, in turn, will share its technical know-how and expertise in the field.Israeli officials told The Jerusalem Post’s Hebrew-language sister publication Ma’ariv that Ariel was accompanied on a trip to Russia by Yesh Atid MK Yoel Razvozov. The two men were joined by Israel’s envoy to Moscow, Zvi Heifetz, for talks with Kremlin officials.Ariel came to an understanding with Russia’s deputy prime minister, Arkady Dvorkovich, that the free trade agreement would be signed by the end of this calendar year. The two sides also came to an agreement over the issue of pension payments from the Russian government to Israelis who immigrated to the country from the former Soviet Union. It was decided that negotiations between Jerusalem and Moscow on the issue would be completed during the course of this calendar year.