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NATO-Georgia defense exercises begin

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NATO-Georgia defense exercises begin

NATO-Georgia defense exercises begin Photo: Vano Shlamov/AFP

NATO-Georgia defense exercises begin today and continue through March 24.

The Substantial NATO-Georgia Package – endorsed in 2014 – is a set of initiatives aimed at developing Georgia’s defense capabilities by increasing NATO-Georgia interoperability. Beginning today, NATO will train Georgian forces, using computer simulations, to enhance their operations planning process.

Amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and given Putin’s animosity toward possible Georgian accession to NATO, the ruling Georgian Dream party also announced that it would submit an application for EU membership.

Georgian leaders likely hope to enhance national security by leveraging EU mutual defense obligations and pressure Russia to stop occupying Georgia. As NATO conditionally agreed to Georgia’s future accession at the 2008 Bucharest Summit, today’s exercises signal concern of a potential Russian invasion of Georgia. Expect NATO to take lessons learned from the Russia-Ukraine War to adapt and prepare Georgian forces to respond to Russia.

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Yet, NATO is not expected to admit Georgia while Russian troops continue occupying parts of the country, as NATO aims to avoid direct conflict with Russia. In the medium-term, expect Russia to increase its military presence in Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia to inhibit Georgia’s accession to NATO.

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