As relations between Russia and the United States continue to sour, Moscow is trying its luck with other world powers. Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday, before German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan head to Russia next week. Then Putin will travel to China during the week of May 8. Moscow is apparently trying to touch base with the major powers in its periphery -- among them some of Washington's biggest allies and adversaries -- in anticipation of Putin's first sit-down with U.S. President Donald Trump, expected this summer. In the meantime, Russia is actively engaged in several high-profile issues, from the conflict in Syria to alleged meddling in foreign elections to the brewing crisis in North Korea. The latter will likely serve as a key topic of conversation between Putin and Abe and a chance for Russia to curry favor with Japan.