Russia rolled its tanks across Belarus for live-fire drills that drew an ominous warning from NATO and added urgency to Western efforts to avert a feared invasion of Ukraine.
- The war games — set to run until February 20 — followed a gradual Russian military build-up around Ukraine that some U.S. estimates say has reached 1,30,000 soldiers grouped in dozens of combat brigades.
- Western leaders have been shuttling to Moscow in an effort to keep the lines of communication open, giving Russia a chance to air its grievances about NATO’s expansion into eastern Europe and ex-Soviet states.
- Russia has also sent six warship through the Bosphorus for naval drills on the Black Sea and the neighbouring Sea of Azov.
- Belarus is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe.
- It is bordered by Russia to the east and northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest.
- Minsk is the capital and largest city.