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Georgia Lashes Out At Russia Ahead Of U.S.-Led War Games

Armies From 13 Countries Launch Drills In Georgia
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WATCH: Armies From 13 Countries Launch Drills In Georgia

Georgia's president, Giorgi Margvelashvili, condemned Russia's illegal ocupation of part of his country on August 1 as he opened two weeks of military exercises with the United States and several other NATO members.

Some 1,300 Georgian soldiers -- 1,170 from the United States and several hundred from NATO member states Britain, Germany, Estonia, France, Lithuania, Poland, Norway, and Turkey -- are taking part in the Noble Partner 2018 exercises, which are being held in Georgia for the fourth time.

Non-NATO countries Ukraine, Armenia, and Azerbaijan also sent soldiers.

The joint exercise, which is being run from the Vaziani military base near Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, opened just days before the 10th anniversary of Georgia's 2008 war with Russia.

Margvelashvili told participants at the opening ceremony, "Today, you are standing on the territory of a country, 20 percent of which is absolutely illegally occupied by our neighbor Russia."

Russia and Georgia fought a war in August 2008 over Georgia's separatist region of South Ossetia, where Moscow still has troops.

Russia also supports another breakaway region, Abkhazia, and has recognized both regions as independent states.

Russia is conducting in parallel its own military maneuvers in the North Caucasus region, which borders Georgia. The Russian exercises, which started on August 1, will last for two weeks.

With reporting by Reuters and Interfax

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