Moscow irked by NATO exercises in Georgia

April 17th, 2009 - 9:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, April 17 (RIA Novosti) Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Friday that NATO’s decision to hold military exercises in Georgia next month threatens to complicate ties with Russia.
The military exercises will be held from May 6 to June 1, and will not include light or heavy weaponry.

“Such decisions are disappointing and do nothing to help restore full-level contacts between the Russian Federation and NATO,” Medvedev said.

He warned that Moscow “will be closely watching” the drills and “if necessary, make appropriate decisions”.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday the NATO exercise could give the Georgian regime a sense of impunity and raise tensions in the Caucasus region.

NATO said Russia is welcome to join its military exercises in Georgia, but from every indication, the invitation has been ignored by Moscow.

The drills are aimed at improving interoperability between NATO and partner countries, within the framework of Partnership for Peace, Mediterranean Dialogue and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative programmes.

Nineteen countries will participate in the exercise, including Britain, the US, Albania, Armenia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Hungary, Greece and Spain, among others.

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