M1 Abrams tanks, heavy armor arrive in Georgian port for Agile Spirit drills (VIDEO)
Some 500 US troops along with M1 Abrams main battle tanks and LAV armored fighting vehicles have arrived in the former Soviet republic of Georgia for the Agile Spirit 2017 exercise.
Georgia’s Defense Ministry has released a video that showed the unloading of the tanks – painted in desert camouflage – at the port of Poti.
US heavy armor will then be transported by train to Vaziani, where the main stage of the war games will begin.
The war games are expected to take place at the Georgian military’s Vaziani training center, involving US soldiers as well as approximately 1,000 troops from Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Latvia, Romania and Ukraine.
"This is the seventh [edition] of the annually scheduled multilateral exercise designed to enhance US, Georgian and regional partner interoperability and strengthen understanding of each nation’s tactics, techniques and procedures," the Pentagon said in a press release.
Georgia, an active contributor to NATO deployments, has long planned to join the bloc, while Russia has long criticized the alliance for coming closer to its borders.
In a June interview with film director Oliver Stone, Russian President Vladimir Putin described NATO as an instrument of American foreign policy, and said the alliance’s members inevitably become US “vassals.”
“Once a country becomes a NATO member, it is hard to resist the pressures of the US. And all of a sudden, any weapons system can be placed in this country. An anti-ballistic missile system, new military bases and if need be, new offensive systems,” Putin said, adding that Russia was forced to take countermeasures over the ever-increasing NATO threat and armed military build-up on Russia’s borders.