TBILISI, DFWatch–Russia is massing military forces inside the breakaway regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and announcing that it is starting military exercises.
Official Tbilisi calls on the international community to react to this violation of Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
The exercises includes more than 2,000 soldiers with more than 500 units of military hardware, air defense units, missiles, artillery and anti-aircraft. Conventional and offensive weapons are located on 12 training grounds.
According to South Ossetia’s official news agency RES, the exercise is focused on air defense and participating units come from Russian regiments deployed in North Caucasus oblasts and autonomous republics, as well as breakaway South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Armenia, where Russia has a large military base near the city of Gyumri, as well as Crimean federal district.
Georgia’s Foreign Ministry claims the exercises will involve advanced Russian offensive military equipment such as “Igla” air defense missile complexes, “Tunguska” anti-aircraft gun and missile systems, “Shilka” anti-aircraft artillery systems, S-300B, “Strela-10”, “Tor” and “Osa” anti-aircraft missile systems.
The exercises will last until April 10 and the final stage of field exercises is tactical exercises with the implementation of test-firing exercises, according to RES.
The Foreign Ministry says Russia is violating norms and principles of international law and its commitments including the ceasefire agreement of August 12, 2008.
The ministry further says Russia is also violating Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and threatening the peace and stability in the region, as it is conducting military exercises on territory that is inside of Georgia’s internationally recognized borders.
Expressing ‘extreme concern’ over the matter, the ministry calls on the international community to ‘duly react’ to Russia’s ‘destructive’ step.
Reconciliation Minister Paata Zakareishvili told journalists on Friday that he thinks the exercises aim to show military forces to the world and are not in fact directed solely against Georgia.
“I think this is an occasion when the world must carefully observe Russian actions,” he said adding that Russia is stubbornly following its own policy.