Some 2,700 troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Poland, France, and host Georgia have begun major military exercises in the South Caucasus nation.
The Noble Partner 2020 multinational military exercises in Georgia kicked off on September 7 and are expected to last until September 18.
The U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi said in a statement on September 7 that the exercises, the fifth of the series, are "designed to enhance regional partnerships and increase U.S. force readiness and interoperability in a realistic, multinational training environment."
"Participants will conduct situational training exercises, live-fire exercises, and combined mechanized maneuvers. Exercises like Noble Partner 20 continue to demonstrate U.S. commitment to stability and security in the region and show that NATO allies and partners stand stronger together," the embassy's statement said.
U.S. officials in the past have spoken favorably toward Georgian hopes of eventually joining the Western military alliance, a move Russia vehemently opposes.
At a 2008 summit in Bucharest, NATO leaders made a formal pledge that Georgia "will become a NATO member," but alliance leaders have moved warily toward that goal in the face of Moscow’s opposition.
In August the same year, Moscow recognized Georgia's breakaway areas of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent countries after fighting a five-day war against Tbilisi. Russia maintains thousands of troops in the two regions.