Russian President Vladimir Putin says that he and his Belarusian counterpart, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, have agreed on a new unified gas market, and he praised Belarus, saying the situation there was "stabilized” after months of turmoil.
Putin spoke at a joint news conference, alongside Lukashenka, on September 9, after more than three hours of talks in Moscow.
Lukashenka's trip to Moscow came amid heightened speculation that he and Putin would finalize a decades-old plan to fully establish a "Union State" that would closely integrate the two countries.
It was unclear if that had happened, however, earlier, Lukashenka signaled that a final signing of 28 so-called road maps, which would finalize the countries' integration, would be signed on October 28.
Lukashenka, meanwhile, said his talks with Putin were honest and constructive.
Putin's praise for Belarusian stability comes after months of unprecedented political turmoil in Belarus, sparked by the August 2020 presidential election that Lukashenka claimed victory in.
Belarus's opposition considered the election rigged, and that kicked off months of street protests and mass demonstrations that were met with a brutal police crackdown.