Speaker of the Federation Council (the upper house of the Russian parliament) Sergei Mironov and the heads of the parliaments of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia have gathered for their closed meeting in Kislovodsk (the Stavropol territory in the south of Russia).
As the speaker of the upper house of the Russian parliament told reporters before the beginning of the meeting on Saturday, it has long since been agreed to hold meetings of the Group of Four Caucasian Countries on the parliamentary level once a quarter of a year. Today's meeting is the third one, the first meeting took place in June, last year, in St Petersburg, and the second one - in October, last year, in Tbilisi.
At these meetings the parliamentary heads discussed urgent issues of "both bilateral and multilateral relations" of Russia with the Caucasian republics, said Sergei Mironov.
"The very fact that this is already the third meeting shows that there is interest in them and that the negotiations have a positive result," pointed out the chairman of the Federation Council.
Today the meeting participants intend "to speak very much frankly and openly," underscored Sergei Mironov. According to him, this is especially important in discussing delicate issues such as the complication of Russian-Georgian or Armenian-Azerbaijanian relations.
A practical result of these meetings is the establishment of trustworthy relations between the heads of the parliaments of Russia, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Sergei Mironov reminded the audience that a hot telephone line has been opened between him and the head of the Georgian parliament, Nino Burdzhanadze. "And in case of the appearance of any conflict situations, we can exchange operational information which often resulted in lessening tensions between our parliaments," said Sergei Mironov.
Putin's official spokesman Dmitry Peskov commented on remarks in the US media about failures in launching nuclear-capable missiles in Russia
The Buk system that shot down MH17 belonged to the 53rd SAM missile brigade of the Russian Ministry of Defense, investigators say after looking at a few pictures on the net
It has long been understood that the West has been trying to subject Russian borders to total control. We have not seen such activity even during the Cold War