Georgia is the setting for large-scale joint exercises with NATO from Monday. Russia’s neighbour has been trying to join the alliance for a long time, much to Moscow’s dismay.
Approximately 2,800 troops from the United States, Great Britain, France and Poland participate in the ‘Noble Partner 2020’ exercise near the Georgian capital Tbilisi.
Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia said the exercises are a “guarantee of peace in our country” and are not aimed at any particular enemy, he said during the opening ceremony. The exercises last until September 18.
The country’s desire to join NATO in the South Caucasus led to the splitting off of the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in 2008, with support from the Kremlin.
The Georgian army was then overrun in five days, and Russia then stationed thousands of men in the apostate provinces, which Moscow recognized as independent states.
NATO then pledged that Georgia could become a member, but no official steps have yet been taken to this end.