Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus Sign Eurasian Union Deal

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L), Kazakhstan's Nursultan Nazarbayev and Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko at an ceremony where the Eurasian Economic Union deal was signed. Photo by EPA/BGNES

The Presidents of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan signеd on Thursday an agreement establishing the Eurasian Economic Council.

Kazakhstan's capital Astana saw the emerging of a 170-million-strong bloc in which free movement of goods, capital, services and working force are to be guaranteed.

Most economic policies will also be coordinated by the leaders of the three states, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Belarusian Alexander Lukashenko, and Kazakhstan's Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The Eurasian Economic Council, which will be the Eurasian Economic Union's supreme authority, will include the Presidents and Prime Ministers of member countries.

Armenia and Kyrgyzstan are also expected to join the union later on.

Considered to be one of the major political projects of Vladimir Putin, the Eurasian Union also envisaged the participation of Ukraine, but Kiev renounced after episodes of violence in the country led the Parliament to ousting President Viktor Yanukovych and a new leadership took the rule.

Economic cooperation was picked as the future bloc's single priority, after leaders failed to agree on including political elements into their agreement.

At the event where the agreement was signed, President Putin underscored the Eurasian Union will not infringe participants' sovereignty by any means.

Thursday's deal will come into force on January 1, 2015, and will replace a customs union which has existed between the three countries since 1994.

Kremlin officials were quoted by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty as saying that the bloc is to become "the largest common market within the Community of Independent States".

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