Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says that Russia and Kazakhstan have agreed to launch a customs union from July 1, cutting Belarus out of the first stage of the union.
Putin made the announcement at a press conference in St. Petersburg.
"Our Kazakh partners and we agreed to launch the customs code and other agreements related to the customs union on a bilateral basis from July 1 this year,” Putin said. “We signed an international agreement today that will enable us to move toward deeper integration, if necessary, on a bilateral basis."
Putin said Russia and Kazakhstan would be open to talks on Belarus joining the union at a later stage.
compiled from agency reports