Georgia to practice army interoperability in NATO drills: official

MOSCOW, April 24

The upcoming NATO military drills in Georgia will help increase the Georgian army’s combat preparedness and interoperability with the alliance, Deputy Prime Minister Georgi Baramidze said Friday.

“These will be mainly command post exercises. Of course, hardware will be used, but not tanks or long-range artillery,” Russia’s Vremya Novostei newspaper quoted Baramidze as saying. 

“Their goal is to increase the Georgian army’s combat preparedness and to practice interoperability with the armed forces of the alliance’s members and partners in certain situations,” he added.

Georgia has been seeking to join NATO. But Russia has repeatedly warned against the alliance’s eastward expansion, regarding it as a threat to its national security.

About 1,300 servicemen from 19 countries have planned to participate in the exercises in Georgia scheduled between May 6 and June 1.

Russia has voiced strong opposition to the drills, deeming it as a “show of muscle” which may entice Georgia into retaliation for its failure in the conflict last August.

NATO, however, said the drill is not related to the current political situation in Georgia since they were planned prior to the five-day war between Russia and Georgia last year.

Baramidze said the drills “will not be affected by Russia’s reaction” because they “are not aimed at anyone, no one is being threatened, including Russia.”

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