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Georgia Hosts U.S. Troops, Others In Joint Military Exercises

The Agile Spirit maneuvers are designed to enhance U.S., Georgian, and regional partner interoperability. (file photo)

Georgian troops have joined counterparts from the United States and other countries for the start of the Agile Spirit 2017 military drills -- the seventh time the maneuvers have been held.

The exercises were launched on September 3 at the Orpolo firing range near Akhaltsikhe in the southern region of the South Caucasus nation.

The maneuvers are designed to enhance "U.S., Georgian, and regional partner interoperability and strengthen understanding of each nation’s tactics, techniques and procedures," the U.S. military said.

The Georgian Defense Ministry wrote in a Twitter statement that "with multinational exercises, together w/ strategic partners, #Georgia becomes more stable & peaceful, our Armed Forces more professional."

Prior to the start, U.S. military officials said units from its Marine Corps and army would participate along with 1,000 service members from Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Latvia, Romania, and Ukraine.

However, Georgian Defense Ministry officials Giorgi Kacharava and Nino Tolordava said on September 3 that Armenia decided not to participate, without providing further information.

There was no immediate comment from Yerevan.

Armenia is a member of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organizations (CSTO), which also includes Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

Russia is particularly sensitive of moves by Armenia to increase its military ties to the West, especially to the United States.

Armenia is also a bitter rival of Azerbaijan. The two neighbors have been locked in a conflict over Azerbaijan's breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh for years.

Based on reporting by,, DVIDS, TASS,, and Xinhua