The U.S. Army has deployed Abrams battle tanks in Georgia for the first time, offloading the heavy armor at the Black Sea port of Poti for live-fire training exercises with forces from Georgia and the United Kingdom.
The deployment also includes Bradley armored personnel carriers and support vehicles that were shipped across the Black Sea from NATO-member Bulgaria.
The training exercises from May 11-26 have been named Noble Partner 2016.
Georgia's Defense Ministry says the main goal of the operation is to increase the ability of Georgian forces to work as part of a NATO response force.
Tbilisi says a total of 1,300 troops will take part in the exercises -- including 650 troops from the U.S. European Command, 650 Georgian troops, and 150 British soldiers.
The U.S. European Command says three U.S. C-130 cargo planes from the U.S. National Guard will also take part in the training exercises.
With reporting by Interfax