Russia calls NATO centre in Georgia 'provocative'

Russia says opening of new military training centre by NATO will destabilise security in region

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Thursday that opening a training centre in Georgia for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is provocative for the Russian Federation.

"We've paid attention to the information that during a visit of the NATO Secretary - General Stoltenberg to Georgia a joint NATO - Georgian training centre was opened. There are plans to carry out training and drills on the centre's grounds to improve interoperability, compatibility and cohesion of NATO countries forces, the Georgian armed forces and the alliance's partner-states," Zakharova said.

Zakharova spoke at a press conference in Moscow and told reporters that opening an exercise centre in Georgia would trigger the former Soviet Republic region to move closer to membership in military alliances, Reuters reported.

Russia believes that establishing and fostering military ties between Western military alliances and Georgia would destabilise the security situation in the region.

"We view this step as a continuation of the alliance's provocative policy, which is aimed at enlargement of its geopolitical influence by using often resources of the alliance's partner-countries. Also creating such military facility of the North-Atlantic Alliance in Georgia serves as a destabilising factor for security in the region," Zakharova told reporters.

Georgia’s government is longing to join the military alliance, but Russia holds pressure against joining Georgia’s security that fought a 2008 war with two Moscow-backed breakaway regions, South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

NATO membership

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday in Tbilisi that opening a training centre is a step for membership to NATO.

"The inauguration of the joint training and evaluation centre will be a significant step deepening further our close cooperation," said Stoltenberg at a press conference to reporters adding "All these efforts help Georgia to move closer to your aspiration of NATO membership."

Stoltenberg said that the main aim of opening a military exercise centre is to foster Georgia’s military capabilities.

The military exercise centre will help theoretical and practical training for Georgian soldiers by NATO allied countries and partner states.

On the other hand, the host country’s Prime Minister Irakly Garibashvili voiced that opening a military centre by NATO does not aim against any country.

"It will serve regional security, peace and stability in the region," Garibashvili told reporters.

Georgia is the second largest contributor after the US to NATO's Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, with 885 soldiers.

TRTWorld and agencies