President Vladimir Putin has hosted the ruler of Bahrain for talks focused on the Syrian crisis and economic cooperation.

Putin hailed Bahrain as Russia's "important partner in the Gulf and the entire Middle East" at the start of the talks Monday in the Russian president's residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Putin presented Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa with a horse of an ancient Akhal-Teke breed, which has won several international competitions. The king gave the Russian president a sword made of Damascus steel.

Speaking after the talks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the two countries agreed to boost economic and military ties.

He said both countries spoke in support of Syrian peace settlement.