The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is continuing massive military drills in Georgia near Russia .
Some 2,800 troops from the US, the UK, Germany, Turkey, Ukraine, Slovenia, Armenia, and Georgia were participating in a live-fire combat operation on the 12th day of the so-called Noble Partner 2017 war games at the Vaziani Military Base, around 20 kilometers outside the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, on Thursday.
The exercises are being held in Georgia for the third time.
Russian officials have not commented on the event yet, but in previous years, Moscow had warned that drills could destabilize the region, a charge denied by Georgian officials and US diplomats.
In May last year, when the previous round of the war games began in Georgia , Moscow slammed the move and called the war games “a provocative step.”
Georgia , a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia, is not a member of NATO but it contributes to the NATO Response Force (NRF). It also says that joint exercises are important for the country to strengthen ties and partnership with the military bloc.
Russia is generally unsettled by NATO’s move eastward, considering it a threat to its security.
In recent years, NATO has staged multiple war games near Russia’s western borders, arguing that it intended to protect its members in Eastern Europe against the so-called “Russian threat.” Moscow dismissed allegations of such a threat, saying that the US-led bloc is creating Russophobia.
In July 15, NATO carried out military drills in Romania. On June 19, it staged war games on the border between Poland and Lithuania. A 10-day simultaneous exercise, called Iron Wolf, was also conducted in Lithuania.
NATO has also been attempting to co-opt countries near Russia , enticing them to formally join the Western military alliance.