Russian President Vladimir Putin stated at a press conference in the wake of the negotiations with his Belarussian counterpart that Moscow proposed to build single state power bodies of the Union state of Russia and Belarus "in accordance with the constitution of the Russian Federation" in case a full-fledged single state was established. Putin explained that proposal not by drawbacks of the Belarussian constitution but by the fact that, according to its constitution, Belarus was a unitary state and Russia - a federative one.
Vladimir Putin was confident that the Union of Russia and Belarus should be a federative state. Putin proposed this principle of unification of Russia and Belarus to be considered within the framework of a referendum.
According to Putin, in general the question at the referendum in Russia and Belarus alike should be formulated like this:
"Do you agree that Russia and Belarus be united into a single state on the following principles:
- provision of equal rights and freedoms to the Russian and Belarussian peoples;
-equality of subjects of Belarus and the Russian Federation;
-creation of single state power bodies in accordance with the constitution of the Russian Federation." Vladimir Putin reported that Moscow proposed to hold the referendum "on final unification" in Russia and Belarus in May 2003.
Vladimir Putin indicated that subsequently in December 2004 elections into the union parliament should be carried out and in spring, "probably in March" of the next year - elections of the head of the union state.
At the same time he stressed that this was one of the options of further integration which provided for "creation in the full sense of the word of a union state." According to Vladimir Putin, the second possible option might be "something like the integration within the framework of the European Union". In his opinion, this option provided for creation of a union parliament to adopt laws which subsequently would "have to be confirmed by internal legislations."
Russian military repeatedly thwarted Turkey's attempts to deploy its troops to Syria, and stopped militants from moving further south