Russia hosts meetings of ex-Soviet alliance

Russia hosts meetings of ex-Soviet alliance

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MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin is meeting with leaders of five other ex-Soviet nations which are part of a Moscow-dominated security pact.

Speaking at the start of Monday's meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, Putin said they will discuss changes in the group's internal structure and future joint action.

Along with Russia, the CSTO includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. In the past, it also included several other ex-Soviet nations which have since opted out.

Members of the pact have created a joint rapid reaction force that held sporadic military exercises, but its numbers were small.

Later in the day, Putin will also host a separate meeting of the Eurasian Economic Union, an alliance that includes the same nations with the exception of Tajikistan.

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