Leaders of six ex-Soviet states to meet in Russia for talks

Russian President Vladimir Putin is hosting the meeting in Sochi, a Black Sea resort city where he has a summer residence. Attending are the heads of state of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The countries are members of the Eurasian Economic Community - a grouping that aims to restore economic ties lost after the 1991 Soviet collapse.

Proposals to be discussed include water energy regulation in Central Asia and setting up a Eurasian hydroelectric consortium.

Ukraine's new prime minister, Viktor Yanukovych, is to attend the meeting with observer status, and his comments are likely to be seen as an indication of whether he will aim to strengthen cooperation with Russia even as Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko tries to move Ukraine closer to the West, according to the AP.

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