Russia-led alliance holds military drills in Belarus, near the borders of NATO countries,

More than 2,000 troops from a Russia-led security alliance opened military exercises Friday in parts of Belarus near the borders of NATO countries.

The exercises of the Collective Security Treaty Organization include troops from Russia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. Armenia is also a member of the CSTO but did not send any of its forces; in January, Armenia said it would not host CSTO drills this year amid tense relations with Russia.

Belarus’ defence ministry said the exercises, which are to last through Wednesday, are to prepare for joint operations, including responses to a nuclear accident.

The exercises are taking place in three western Belarus regions that border NATO members Poland and Lithuania. Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau said the purpose of the military exercises was to destabilize the region. Läs artikel