: Georgia begins military drills with NATO

12:56 May. 12, 2016

Georgia begins military drills with NATO

Georgia-United States-Britain joint exercises (GettyImages Photo)

Earlier Russia protested against the joint exercises

Georgia begins the joint military drills with the NATO members on Thursday, May 12. The goal of the training is to increase the tactical efficiency of the Georgian soldiers which take part in the NATO Response force operations.

Read also: NATO prepares to offer Georgia and Ukraine an 'Association Partnership'

The forces of the alliance are represented by the United States and the United Kingdom. According to BBC, around 1300 troops are going to take part in the drills, including 650 servicemen from the U.S. and 150 from the U.K. American M1 Abrams tanks and C-130 aircraft are expected to be used in the training

It is the second time Georgia holds joint exercises with NATO. The country organised an opening ceremony at the Vaziani military base near the country's capital Tbilisi.

"Georgia will become a member of NATO", Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili said in his speech.

Read also: NATO and Georgia work closely on protecting the Black Sea region

Earlier the military training was criticised by Russia. Moscow officials called it "a provocation" and accused Georgia of destabilising the security situation in the region.

Tbilisi, in turn, said Georgia was a sovereign country and had a right to hold any drills in its territory.

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