“It is impossible to develop the economy without reinforcing security,” he told a meeting of the presidents of the Eurasian Economic Community, which comprises Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
At the meeting at his Black Sea coastal residence, Putin said that progress had been made towards creating a customs union, so far involving Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia.
“We have signed documents committing Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan to prepare a legal basis for a customs union,” the Russian leader said. “The final objective is the accession of all the members of the Eurasian Economic Community to this union.”
All members of the Eurasian Economic Community had supported a plan to create a common market for energy, including nuclear energy, and water, Putin said.
He also announced that Uzbekistan had formally rejoined a security group of seven ex-Soviet states, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, following a deterioration in relations between Uzbekistan and the United States.
Uzbek President Islam Karimov called the move “a very important event for Uzbekistan.”