Georgia hosts military exercise with five NATO allies

Georgia opens door for military exercises to NATO members with 'Agile Spirit 2015'

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Georgia and five NATO member states launched a military exercise called 'Agile Spirit 2015' on Wednesday, at the Vaziani military base near the capital city of Tbilisi, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.

In addition to Georgia, the United States, Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Latvia will also participate in the military exercise. Military officials from the Republic of Moldova and Armenia are participating as observers.

Agile Spirit 2015, the military exercise which began in 2011 as an American-Georgian bilateral exercise taking place twice a year, aims to support operations and peacekeeping simulation and will last for two weeks.

Last year, the Russian Federation caused heightened tensions in the Caucasus and Baltic regions by annexing Crimea, after which NATO deployed troops and heavy weaponry to the region.

NATO had been focusing on the region since 2008, when the Russian Federation supported the breakaway Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in a war which led to the regions declaring independence from Tbilisi.

According to the Georgia Defence Ministry, the exercise with soldiers from the Georgian army's 4th mechanized brigade is intended to improve communications during military operations and to learn various war tactics, Romanian News Agency Act Media reported.

"One of the priority areas of the package is the holding of NATO exercises on Georgian territory," the ministry said.

Officials said that 220 US Marine Corps servicemen are involved in this year’s military exercise "Agile Spirit 2015."

In May, another exercise programme, namely Noble Partner, was launched between the United States and Georgia.

During the NATO summit in Wales in September 2014, it was agreed to found a NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Centre.

The Centre, contains the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package which introduced back then by allied leaders.

Chief of General Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces Vakhtang Kapanadze said on Wednesday that “Georgian soldiers took part in many international operations and are continuing to contribute to global peace alongside our partners,” Agenda website reported.

“Our cooperation is more than just a partnership – it is brotherhood of arms,” Kapanadze added.

Journalist Robert Bridge commented to RT news agency “These military exercises in Georgia – a country that launched an unprovoked attack on South Ossetia in 2008, which led to the death of 12 Russian peacekeepers and a brief military conflict between Georgia and Russia – are the latest in a series of alarming moves by NATO that underscore the organization's threatening stance towards Russia.”

TRTWorld and agencies