Russia says US-Georgia defence drills are “provocative”

The military exercise ‪will involve about 500 Georgian, 150 UK and 650 US service members. Photo by US Embassy in Tbilisi, 07 May 2016 - 12:58, Tbilisi,Georgia

Russia is dissatisfied that Georgia and the United States (US) are getting ready to conduct joint military exercises in Georgia.

The Foreign Ministry of Russia issued a special statement criticising the "large-scale preparations” for the Noble Partner drills, which will launch on May 11 and continue for just over two weeks.

"We regard this ongoing "exploration” of Georgia’s territory by NATO forces as a provocative step aimed at escalating the military and political situation in the South Caucasus,” the Russian Ministry’s statement said.

"To a large extent, this is encouraged by Washington and its allies’ open connivance at Tbilisi’s revanchist ambitions.”

Meanwhile heavy military equipment from the US Army arrived in Georgia to be used in the two-week joint US-Georgia military exercise.

Established in 2015, the Noble Partner exercise aimed to train service members from the Georgian Armed Forces (GAF) and NATO member states for the NATO Response Force (NRF) unit, and to improve the GAF’s interoperability with NATO soldiers.