Georgia along with the NATO started a two-week exercise on the borders of Russia. The training takes place on a former Soviet airfield on Monday.
The joint exercise called Noble Partner brought about 300 American soldiers accompanied by 14 Bradley tanks, transported across the Black Sea from Romania.
Captain David Gabedava, a nine-year veteran of the Georgian military who served in Afghanistan, said that the 300 Georgian troops would practice taking and holding a small village of abandoned houses used as a training ground on the base, among other tasks.
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili stated, "this training is not directed at anyone or any direct threat," meaning Russia.
Major Vincent Mucker of the United States Army said that the training exercises were planned before Russia's annexation of Crimea last March.
"This is business as usual between the United States and Georgia," Major Mucker said.
The exercises were the first time that a company of battle armour had been transported into the Caucasus region across the Black Sea, proving, Major Mucker said, "that we can use the Black Sea as a transit corridor." Though the government has set a goal of normalizing relations with Russia, views of Moscow remain tainted by a 2008 war over the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia that resulted in a defeat for Georgia.
"If Russia were a normal country, it wouldn't be concerned by 300 guys and a bunch of Bradleys," said Davit Bakradze, a former chairman of Georgia's Parliament and now an opposition politician.
It is just one in a series of military exercises being held this spring in countries in Scandinavia, the Baltics, Eastern Europe, and now the Caucasus, that have one thing in common: their proximity to Russia.
NATO began anti-submarine exercises off the Norwegian coast last week. Lithuania, a NATO member, is preparing its military for an attack of "green men". In Ukraine, American soldiers are training National Guard units fighting citizens in the South-East of the country.
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