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Russia to head CSTO regional security meeting

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Russia to head CSTO regional security meeting

Sergey Lavrov speaking at a conference in Moscow in June 2019
Photo: Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

The Ministerial Council of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) will meet today via videoconference. The talks will be led by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

In an effort to increase allied cooperation in the region, CSTO—a Russian-led military alliance comprised of Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Belarus—will address the security considerations of member states.

Russia, whose economy has suffered greatly due to the recent drop in oil prices, will seek to deepening its influence with member states through increased trade and military cooperation. As a result, expect Belarus’ recent purchase of 87,000 tons of Saudi oil to create friction. Despite recent efforts by Russia to further economic integration, Belarus announced in January that it would decrease its Russian oil purchases to 30-40% of domestic market needs in order to diversify its economy.

An additional challenge to that bilateral relationship is increasing Chinese investment in Belarus, which comes as China and Russia compete for influence in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Overall, expect the meeting to highlight recent wedges in the relations between Russia and other CSTO members.

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