Georgian troops participate in NATO drill in Lithuania

Lithuania’s national military drills were transformed into a fully-fledged NATO exercise as the crisis in Ukraine unfolded in 2014. Photo from Lithuanian Armed Forces., 09 Nov 2015 - 16:09, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Armed Forces (GAF) are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with thousands of other servicemen and women in an NATO drill in Lithuania.

For the next 10 days the Georgian soldiers will practice interoperability with their foreign counterparts in the 2015 Iron Sword exercise involving 2,000 troops from nine NATO member states. Georgia is the only non-member country to participate in the exercises.

The drills opened today at the Lithuanian Armed Forces range in Pabradė, located 50km northeast of capital Vilnius.

The 2015 Iron Sword exercise, featuring various all-terrain vehicles and other military equipment, will give soldiers the chance to practice "interaction, coordination of actions and readiness to carry out defensive and offensive operations of combined units,” said Lithuania’s Defence Ministry.

This year’s exercise followed the 2014 edition of the drill, which saw the initial smaller-scale national event transform into a fully-fledged NATO war game aimed at "strengthening security in Eastern Europe” in light of the conflict in Ukraine and threats to regional stability.

Georgian troops have already taken part in military exercises in the Baltic this year. The troops were involved in the BALTOPS naval drills from June 5-19.

The 2015 Iron Sword exercise will run until November 20.