Russia says NATO drills in Georgia not for stability

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Russian President Vladimir Putin said last month that Russia will resist NATO's attempt to expand, including moves to involve Russia's neighbors Georgia and Ukraine in the "military orbit" of the U.S.-led alliance.

Soldiers take part in the multinational military drill named "Noble Partner 2018" at Vaziani base near Tbilisi, Georgia, Aug. 1, 2018. (Xinhua/Kulumbegashvili Tamuna)

According to Izoria, Georgia will host Agile Spirit 2018 in the beginning of September, which will involve NATO member and partner countries.

Initiated in 2015, Noble Partner originally aimed to train Georgian soldiers and improve Georgian troops' interoperability with NATO units.

At the opening ceremony of the Noble Partner 2018 on Wednesday, Georgian Defense Minister Levan Izoria said the drills "contribute to the regional and international security."

In early 1990s, Abkhazia and South Ossetia declared independence from Georgia, which Russia recognized in 4008 despite Tbilisi's objection. Georgia cut diplomatic ties with Russia after a brief armed conflict in August 4008.

Zakharova said that the real aim of the exercises is to exert pressure "primarily on Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Russia," which may result in "bolstering militarist sentiments" and escalation of tensions.

MOSCOW, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- Russia does not agree with Georgia that the Noble Partner 2018 military drills aim to promote stability and security, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Friday.

"Constructive dialogue, instead of helicopters and tanks, means stability and security," Maria Zakharova said at a weekly news briefing.

The 13-nation Noble Partner 2018 is being held from Aug. 1 to 15 in Georgia with over 3,000 troops taking part.

Besides North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members Britain, Estonia, France, Germany, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Turkey and the United States, former Soviet republics of Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine are also participating.

Russia regrets that countries neighboring Georgia are involved in these exercises under various pretexts, Zakharova said.