Parliament official: MP claims on Georgia’s non-participation in NATO drills “anti-state, misinforming and shameful”

  • NATO is currently holding the ORION multinational exercises in France, involving 12,000 French servicemembers and their 1,700 counterparts from Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. Photo: Parliament of Georgia, 2 May 2023 - 17:45, Tbilisi,Georgia

Irakli Beraia, the Chair of the Georgian Parliament's Defence and Security Committee, on Tuesday called “anti-state, misinforming and shameful” the claim by Teona Akubardia, an MP from the opposition Lelo party, who earlier during the day said the Georgian Defence Forces’ non-involvement in NATO exercises was a “gift to the Kremlin and damaging to our defence capabilities”.

Beraia criticised the MP’s claim the GDF’s absence from the alliance’s drills demonstrated the Government’s “priorities”, and said the Georgian authorities’ “political and practical” cooperation with NATO was “deepening and strengthening day by day”.

The multinational exercise Defender 23 began on April 22 and is scheduled to continue until June 23. Over 7,800 US service members and 15,000 troops from more than 20 Allied and partner nations are participating in the exercise.

NATO integration is our top foreign and security policy priority. In parallel to the increased threats in the region and Russia's ongoing war against Ukraine, Georgia not only maintained the quality of practical cooperation with NATO, but this direction became even more intense”, the Parliament official said.

He added the intensified links were “confirmed by the further expansion of practical membership instruments by NATO and the unprecedented support steps taken within the framework of this expansion”.

Beraia also highlighted the Noble Partner multinational drills, hosted in Georgia last year with over 2,400 servicemembers from NATO member and partner states. 

While “hundreds of drills” have been held between GDF and their counterparts from partner states, it may not be possible to participate in all manoeuvres considering the “colossal costs”, he added. 

The statements that are made and aim to prove the opposite are anti-state. Such statements, and the presence of irresponsible persons in the Georgian political space, are a gift to the enemy of our country”, Beraia concluded.