Russia Threatens Action on West/U.S. Backed War Games in Georgia
Granting Georgia NATO membership will be an act of confidence by the West in Mikhail Saakashvili, says Tatyana Parkhalina, NATO program director from the Centre for European Security (3:58):
Russia has criticised NATO’s plans to hold exercises in Georgia next month, saying it could disrupt internal politics there (2:46):
Russia vows to keep the pending NATO military drills in Georgia under close observation warning to show the reaction it deems necessary.
On Friday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev cautioned that “we shall be following everything that will be happening there in the most attentive way, and, if need be, take this or that decision,” ITAR-TASS reported.
NATO members are to commit 1,900 troops to the exercise slated for May 6 through June 1 east of the Georgian capital Tbilisi. For almost a year, the military alliance has been hatching plans for the move codenamed Cooperative Longbow 09/Cooperative Lancer 09 command-and-staff.
“At a time when this or that military bloc is conducting an exercise there where just recently there was a very high degree of tension – and the situation there is not a very easy one today – all this is fraught with all sorts of complications,” the Russian leader added referring to the 5-day hostilities between Russia and Georgia in August.
He claimed the measure would face the region with as much risk as the United States was posing to the Middle East and South East Asia by its pending exercises with Israel and the ongoing drills with South Korea.
The south Caucasus country is barely over the confrontation which took place when Georgian troops invaded the pro-independence republic of South Ossetia prompting a stiff armed response from Russia which had vowed to protect its citizens and peacekeepers there.
The pro-Western Georgian leadership is also eager to enlist the country with NATO in the face of opposition from the Georgian public and Moscow.
The accession bid is, however, strongly backed by the US. Prior to the August conflict, the US engaged in substantially training and supplying the Georgian military and the two sides held joint military drills.
“I am certain that this decision will add nothing to the positive sentiment of the people of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, because this sort of action is clearly expected to serve as a show of muscle, as a buildup of the military component. In a situation where all of us are already in a rather strained condition, this decision looks shortsighted and not worthy of true partnership,” Medvedev added.
- Moscow Against NATO-Georgia Drills (16 Apr 09)