Russia Slams US-Georgia Military Drills As Provocative

Russia uneasy with US-Georgia military drills

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks at State Duma, the country’s lower house of the parliament, in Moscow on March 14, 2012.
Russia has slammed the United States and Georgia’s underway joint military exercises and called it a provocative and unhelpful move in an already unstable region.

Referring to the presence of some 300 US marines in Georgia for the joint training drills, which began last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at State Duma, Reuters reported. Russia’s lower house of parliament, on Wednesday, “I brought this to the serious attention of [the US] Secretary of State [Hillary Clinton], because it all looks somewhat provocative.”

Russia and Georgia fought a brief war in 2008 after Tbilisi launched a major offensive against the independence-seeking republic of South Ossetia in a bid to retake its control of the region, it had lost in 1990. The Russo-Georgian relations have ever since remained tense over different issues.

Lavrov warned that the drills were taking place in a ‘very very fragile region.’

He also suggested that Washington’s training the Georgian forces was its way of “rewarding Georgia for sending…its soldiers to Afghanistan.”

Pro-Western Georgia has deployed some 900 forces in Afghanistan.

Russia is wary of the US attempts to use Tbilisi as a proxy against Moscow.