President Vladimir Putin of Russia and his Belarussian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko, have opened a meeting at the Russian leader's residence Bocharov Ruchei in the resort city of Sochi on the Black Sea.
In his opening remarks President Putin said they would have an opportunity to discuss all the issues on the two countries' political and economic agenda in an informal environment.
President Lukashenko, on his part, said they had to discuss too many issues, with wicked things happening behind their backs.
The Belarussian president is hopeful the meeting will help put an end to reciprocal accusations the two countries have indulged in recently.
"My strong belief is that the two countries' longing for unity is being subjected to hard blows. If we endure the blows, we will have a bright future. If we yield to them, we will postpone our people's unification indefinitely," said President Lukashenko.
When commenting on President Lukashenko's pronouncement, a high-ranking Kremlin source said to RIA Novosti that nothing "wicked is happening behind our backs." He said there was a programme of the integration between Russia and Belarus. It was adopted as far back as several years ago and is known to the governments and the general public, according to the source.
The Russian government has been working persistently to implement the programme, and is interested in carrying it through, emphasised the source. Among other things, this programme deals with the circulation of the Russian rouble on Belarussian territory, he added.
Rescuers found the pilot of one of the two Su-34 fighters that had collided in midair in the Far East on January 18