Russia and Belarus form common energy and financial markets, kick off joint military exercises

Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko and Russian president Vladimir Putin have decided to deepen economic ties between their two nations. During their recent meeting, they agreed on forming common energy and financial markets. The move comes as Belarus faces Western sanctions, in response to political repression in the country. The two countries have also started joint military exercises that are being closely monitored by NATO. But many Belarusians don’t want their country to be reliant on Russia, and have criticized Moscow’s growing dominance.