Putin says new post-Soviet union ready for 2015 launch
MOSCOW (AFP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that the final pieces were in place for the 2015 launch of an economic union with Belarus and Kazakhstan that Moscow hopes can also be joined by Ukraine.
Putin said following talks with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Belarussian leader Alexander Lukashenko that the so-called Eurasian Economic Union would turn into a new source of economic growth for all involved.
The new alliance would replace a much looser Eurasian Customs Union that Russia formed with the two ex-Soviet nations in an effort to build up a free trade group rivalling the 28-nation EU bloc.
"Government representatives of the troika (Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus) ... have developed the draft of the institutional part of the Eurasian Economic Union agreement," news agencies quoted Putin as saying.