Russian President Putin has once again confirmed Russia's stand concerning the legal status of the Caspian Sea. 'Let's share just the bottom, because the water is for everybody,' he said yesterday at the first open summit of the Caspian Sea States. As Putin noted, the number of those favouring this approach had been steadily increasing, but no definite agreement had been reached yet. Thus, the problem should be tackled step by step and the interests of all the five Caspian States should be taken into account, the Russian President insisted. 'The Caspian has always played a pivotal role in the economy of these states, and it would be a big mistake to divide the sea into five,' he continued. Vladimir Putin proposed the creation of an intergovernmental institution that would be monitoring the environment in the Caspian basin, 'the situation in the region being all but critical.' The summit is expected to produce a joint declaration in response to the pressing international issues. 'It's the first time 'the Caspian Five' is about to speak as one,' he said.