Russia says CSTO military drills to take place in Belarus from Oct. 12-16

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Six members of a post-Soviet security bloc led by Russia will hold joint military drills in Belarus from Oct. 12-16, the Russian defense ministry said on Tuesday.

The ministry said six member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) -- Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan -- would take part in the exercises with a focus on preparing and conducting peacekeeping operations.

The ministry earlier said military drills between Russia and Belarus had started on Tuesday in the Brest region near Belarus’ border with Poland.

Reporting by Polina Devitt; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Catherine Evans