Multinational Military Exercise Agile Spirit 2016 Launched

Published in military
Friday, 02 September 2016 15:30

The multinational military exercise Agile Spirit 2016 has started today on Orpolo firing range in Akhaltsikhe. Chief of General Staff, Major-General Vakhtang Kapanadze opened the international exercise and congratulated the Georgian and foreign military personnel on the beginning of training.
“It is a great honor for me to open this exercise.  I am very delightful that our brothers from Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria and the U.S. Navy Forces are here with us.  I am very glad that people represented here and their countries appreciate peace. This training is a symbol that Georgia, Urkaine, Romania, Bulgaria and the U.S. are not standing alone and we are doing great job. Heroism does not have nationality and religion. I am very glad that friendship will be forged here that is very important for future success,” said General Kapanadze.
The representatives of the Georgian Armed Forces and local government of Samtskhe-Javakheti region attended the official opening ceremony. Following the official part of event, Chief of General Staff got familiar with the infrastructure of the exercise and was briefed by the Exercise Commander Colonel Malkhaz Makaradze about the scheduled activities and future plans within Agile Spirit 2016.
The military exercise is conducted by the General Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces and the U.S. Marines. Participating nations of the exercise also are: Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and   Latvia.
The goal of the exercises is to maintain and strengthen relations with the U.S. and partner countries, support the regional security, improve defensive and offensive operation skills.
Agile Spirit 2016 includes the command post and field exercises.  The CPX will start on the territory of the IV Mechanized Brigade in Vaziani on September 3. The exercise will be officially closed on September 9.

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  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken with Myroslava Gongadze of Voice of America’s Ukrainian Service

    Secretary Antony J. Blinken with Myroslava Gongadze of Voice of America’s Ukrainian Service

    ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE

    QUESTION: Today we have a chance to talk about the crisis with Secretary of State, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Thank you. Thank you for this opportunity and for your time —

    SECRETARY BLINKEN: It’s good to be with you.

    QUESTION: — and for your effort.

    So your administration said that Russia can invade any moment. What is your administration ready to do to defer Russian aggression? And what would be the three major steps you would – you are ready to do if Russia will invade tomorrow?

    SECRETARY BLINKEN: Well, first, we’ve offered Russia a clear choice, a choice between pursuing dialogue and diplomacy on the one hand, or confrontation and consequences on the other hand. And we’ve just been engaged in an extensive series of diplomatic engagements with Russia, directly between us, through the Strategic Stability Dialogue, at NATO with the NATO-Russia Council, at the OSCE, the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe. And my hope remains that Russia will pursue that diplomatic path. It’s clearly preferable.

    QUESTION: Still, would U.S. —

    SECRETARY BLINKEN: But – but to your point, we’ve also – we’ve equally made clear that if Russia chooses to renew its aggression against Ukraine, we – and not just we the United States, we many countries throughout Europe and even some beyond – will respond very forcefully and resolutely, and in three ways.

    First, we’ve been working intensely on elaborating extensive sanctions: financial, economic, export controls, and others, and —

    QUESTION: Does it include cutting from SWIFT —

    SECRETARY BLINKEN: — doing that – I’m not going to get into the details of what they are, but we’re doing that in very close coordination with European allies and partners. A second consequence would almost certainly be further assistance, defensive military assistance, to Ukraine. And third, it’s almost certain that NATO would have to reinforce its own defenses on its on its eastern flank.

    And you know, what’s so striking about this is that when you think about it, President Putin, going back to 2014, has managed to precipitate what he says he wants to prevent. Because among other things, NATO had to reinforce itself after Russia invaded Ukraine, seized Crimea, the Donbas – after that happened. So we’ve laid out the consequences clearly for Russia, but also the far preferable path of resolving differences diplomatically. And we’ll see which path President Putin decides to take.

    QUESTION: Still, the question of is the SWIFT – cutting Russia from SWIFT is on the table, and personal sanctions against personally Putin and his family are on the table.

    SECRETARY BLINKEN: What I can tell you is this, and it’s not just me saying this – the G7, the leading democratic economies in the world, the European Union, NATO have all each declared as institutions, as a collection of countries that there will be, and I quote, “massive consequences” for Russia if it renews its aggression against Ukraine. We’ve also said that the measures that we’re looking at go well beyond steps that we’ve taken in the past, including in 2014. I’m not going to detail them here or telegraph the steps we take, but I can tell you the consequences would be severe. But again, I want to insist on the fact that it would be far preferable not to have to go down that path. We’re fully prepared to do it, but the preference is to see if we can resolve differences, address concerns in both directions through diplomacy.

    QUESTION: Russia ask for a written response to demand never to accept Ukraine into NATO. Are you preparing to – are you preparing such a written response, and what kind?

    SECRETARY BLINKEN: So we had the last week of these important engagements, as I noted, and we now have an opportunity, both Russia and all of us – the United States, our European partners – to take back what we heard from each other. The Russians have gone back and presumably are consulting with President Putin. We’ve done the same in my case with President Biden. The Europeans have done the same with their leaders. And the next step in this process is for me to have a chance to meet with Foreign Minister Lavrov in Geneva on Friday and to see what – how Russia has responded to what’s already been discussed. They’ll hear from us.

    Before that, though, I was determined, at President Biden’s instruction, to come here to Kyiv to consult with our Ukrainian partners, and then tomorrow in Berlin to meet with some of our closest European partners. That’s exactly how we’ve proceeded all along. We’ve done everything in very close consultation before and after any of our engagements with Russia.

    QUESTION: However, you didn’t answer my question about are you preparing the written response to Russian demand.

    SECRETARY BLINKEN: Right now, the next step is to meet with Foreign Minister Lavrov. Let’s see where we are after Friday, and we’ll take it from there.

    QUESTION: I had that question about Mr. Lavrov. You are scheduled to meet him. Do you see any signs that the Kremlin is changing its position at this point – moment?

    SECRETARY BLINKEN: I can’t see that I see any direct evidence of that. Unfortunately, we can – we continue to see Russia having amassed very significant forces on Ukraine’s borders. That process seems to continue. On the other hand, the fact that we are meeting in Geneva, the fact that we will be discussing the conversations and exchanges that we’ve had over the last 10 days also suggests to me that diplomacy remains an open possibility, one that we’re determined to pursue as long and far as we can. We want to leave no diplomatic stone unturned, because again, that’s just a much better and more responsible way to deal with these problems.

    QUESTION: The Minsk Agreement is seen as the only valuable solution for this crisis. However, Russia and Ukraine has a different reading of the agreement. What has to be done to implement the agreement, or it’s time to renegotiate its norms?

    SECRETARY BLINKEN: I don’t think there’s any need to renegotiate because, as you say, there is an agreement. In fact, there are actually three of them because Minsk evolved 2014 to 2015, and there are a number of very clear steps that both of the parties have to take. I think it’s fair to say looking back that many of those steps Ukraine has either implemented or begun to implement. There are some that it hasn’t yet tackled. I think unfortunately, it’s equally fair to say that Russia has done virtually nothing in terms of the steps required of it in the Minsk Agreement.

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    QUESTION: Since you mentioned Germany, you mentioned Normandy Format, there was a lot of talks about U.S. joining that Normandy Format. Is there any reconsideration of U.S. doing so?

    SECRETARY BLINKEN: I don’t think it’s a question of us joining the format. The question is whether it’s useful for us to try to facilitate things, to support it in any way that we can. If the answer to that is yes, we’re fully prepared to do that, and we’ve said – of course, share that with our allies and partners France and Germany, but we’ve also said that to Russia, and of course, to Ukraine.

    QUESTION: The U.S. National Security Advisor recently said that if Russia wants Nord Stream to start operating, it will have to stop aggression in Ukraine. Is the United States ready to accept the completion and activation of the pipeline for Russia to withdraw troops from the borders?

    SECRETARY BLINKEN: Well, we continue to oppose the pipeline for reasons that are well known and are long known. We think that it actually undermines Europe’s energy security. It obviously does tremendous potential damage to Ukraine including giving Russia the option to avoid the existing pipeline through Ukraine that results in a lot of transit fees for Ukraine, and the list goes on.

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    QUESTION: And I have two questions on the domestic agenda – Ukraine domestic agenda, if I may. The President Zelenskyy promised President Biden personally to fight corruption. He promised to appoint a special anticorruption prosecutor before the end of 2021. However, many Ukrainians argue that there is sabotage of anticorruption reforms. Is the United States, as a Ukraine strategic partner, satisfied with the reform progress in Ukraine? And is Ukraine at risk of losing the U.S. support if the government does not meet its commitment to reform agenda?

    SECRETARY BLINKEN: I had a chance to spend time with President Zelenskyy today. We had a very good conversation about virtually all of these issues, including the question of reform. And President Zelenskyy has been pursuing reform, including most recently judicial reform. But there are other things that need to happen, including finally the appointment of this commissioner that should and could take place anytime, so we are looking to that to see that happen. It’s challenging. There are external pressures, there are internal pressures, but he has been on the path of reform.

    And ultimately, Ukraine’s progress, which we are determined to support, is contingent on reform. So we look to the president to continue that – those efforts. We very much support him in those efforts and we’ll continue to support Ukraine as it makes those efforts.

    QUESTION: Thank you so much. They are showing me that I have to cut. I have one more question, though. One more, please, one more question.

    Across from this building where we are going – doing this interview today, right, on the hearing – in the court hearing on treason charges brought against the former President Poroshenko, many experts and former (inaudible) politicians expressed their concern, and some say the charges are politically motivated. Do you think these charges and the progress of – and the process is justified at the time of looming war?

    SECRETARY BLINKEN: Well, I can’t get into the details of this particular case. What I can say is this: It’s very important that in any proceeding, whether it’s this one or any other, that things go forward, it’s through an independent judiciary pursuant to the rule of law, and, as we would say, without fear or favor, no selective prosecutions. That’s a general rule that we would apply anywhere and everywhere.

    Second, this is a time I think where there’s a premium on national unity precisely because of the threat that Russia is posing. And it’s important for Ukrainians to come together whatever political differences they may have. One of Russia’s methods is to try to divide, to create divisions, to create distractions, and it’s important for Ukrainians to come together to resist that and to deal with the challenge posed by Russia as one – as one country with an incredible future that the United States strongly supports, but one that’s being challenged.

    QUESTION: Thank you so much, because I would be escorted from this room. Thank you so much.

    SECRETARY BLINKEN: (Laughter.) Thank you. Good to be with you again.

    QUESTION: Good to be here.

    SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thank you. Thanks very much.

    US Embassy in Georgia

  • Interview: U.S. fails to draw lesson from wars, Princeton scholar says

    GENEVA, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- The United States has not learned the proper lesson from its failed wars, Richard Falk, emeritus professor of international law at Princeton University, told Xinhua in a recent interview via video link.

    Falk had first-hand experience visiting wartime Vietnam in 1968, which led him to question the lawfulness and the legitimacy of U.S. wars abroad.

    "When I had the opportunity to visit Hanoi and meet some of the leaders there and see the effects of a high technology war machine being used against a peasant society that was trying to establish its own right of self-determination, it changed my understanding fundamentally," he recalled.

    The United States, rather than learning the lesson of the Vietnam War, has repeated the mistake time and again, according to Falk.

    "The U.S., ever since its defeat in Vietnam, despite having overwhelming military superiority, has failed to learn the basic lesson that military intervention is not an effective geopolitical tool," the renowned scholar explained, adding that the U.S. military adventures in the Middle East have further discredited "regime-changing interventions followed by prolonged occupations and state-building undertakings in the post-colonial period."

    The empirical record, Falk stressed, "suggests that excessive reliance of American foreign policy on the military instrument was a consequence of retaining a quasi-war posture ever since World War II."

    "The U.S. became a very militarized state bureaucracy with a high peacetime military budget, and this led it to consistently exaggerate security threats, coupled with the related claim that military approaches to foreign policy challenges continued to be effective," he commented.

    Despite the preaching of the virtues of a "rules-based international order" in the current U.S. administration's foreign policy prescriptions, such an affirmation "certainly doesn't seem to mean respect for international law," Falk pointed out.

    "It seems to mean that others will be held accountable if they depart from U.S. perceptions of what rules should govern," he added. "But it leaves the U.S. itself in a position of pursuing its geopolitical ambitions without any kind of visible respect for the limits set by international law or the UN (United Nations) Charter."

    By Xu Chi

  • Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the statement made by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs considers unacceptable the statement made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, according to which the Russian Federation "considers it necessary to disavow the 2008 Bucharest Summit decision - that Georgia and Ukraine will become NATO members".

    On April 3, 2008, at the NATO Bucharest Summit the leaders of the NATO member states decided that Georgia (and Ukraine) will become a NATO member. The above-mentioned is an extremely important, consensus-based political decision in line with the fundamental principle of international law that all states have the sovereign right to choose their own foreign policy course. Moreover, this decision is based on Article 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty, according to which any European state, which will further the principles of the Treaty and contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area can become a member of NATO.

    NATO integration is a sovereign decision of Georgia, based on the unwavering will of the majority of the Georgian population. This goal is also enshrined in the Constitution of Georgia.

    It should be noted that the 2008 Bucharest Summit decision was reiterated at all consequent NATO summits held after 2008. Furthermore, NATO 2021 Brussels summit communiqué underscored that the Allies consider it unacceptable for any third party to interfere in the determination of the countries’ foreign policy priorities.

    According to all above-mentioned, any statement made by a third party regarding the revision of the Bucharest Summit decision, which is contrary to the fundamental principles and norms of international law, is unacceptable for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    At the same time, it should be emphasized that today the main challenge of the European and Euro-Atlantic security architecture are the actions of the Russian Federation, which has occupied and annexed the territories of neighboring sovereign states, neglected the basic principles of international law and has not fulfilled its own international obligations.

  • International multinational military exercise Agile Spirit marks its jubilee

    International multinational military exercise Agile Spirit marks its jubilee. It is the 10th time Georgia hosts Agile Spirit. This year the most large-scale multinational military exercise will be held from July 26 through August 6. This is reported by the administration of the Ministry of Defense of Georgia.

    Agile Spirit 2021 aims to enhance interoperability among the forces of NATO member and partner countries, to improve and strengthen operational capabilities during planning and execution of operations in real time within multinational environment, to improve cooperation in multinational readiness and security sphere. Agile Spirit 2021 promotes regional stability and security, as well as strengthens capabilities of Alliance member and partner countries to react to regional crises and challenges more effectively. That’s why the main message of the Agile Spirit 2021 is - “Strength through Partnership”.

    The 10th Agile Spirit 2021 is distinctive and larger scale rather than the previous exercises:

    For the first time Georgian-made armored vehicles Didgori Meomari and Didgori MedEvac will participate in the international multinational exercise.

    The number of the countries participating in the exercise is large – this year 15 NATO member and partner countries are involved in it, including: Georgia, USA, UK, Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Turkey, Latvia, Estonia, Germany, Azerbaijan, Spain, Canada, Italy and Lithuania. More than 2500 military of 15 countries will take part in Agile Spirit 2021.

    The training theatre is also large-scale, which will be expanded to five locations – II Infantry Brigade in Senaki, Sorta/Eki training area, Orpolo rifle range, Vaziani rifle range and Vaziani military aerodrome.

    For the first time in the history of multinational exercises conducted in Georgia, a combined airborne operation with the participation of military from Georgia, USA, UK, Poland and UK will be held within Agile Spirit 2021.

    One more novelty within the 10th Agile Spirit is the direction of Special Operation Forces. For the first time in the history of multinational exercises conducted in Georgia, Special Operation Forces from Georgia, USA, UK, Romania and Poland will perform combined operations in renovated and modernized Sorta training area.

    The multinational military training is complex and its scenario includes command, staff and field trainings with airborne operations and live fire, as well as with the engagement of maneuver and combat support elements in defensive and offensive operations.

  • The Foreign Ministers of the Associated Trio have met with the Executive Vice-President of the European Commission for an Economy

    The Foreign Minister of the Associated Trio – Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine met with the Executive Vice-President of the European Commission for an Economy, Valdis Dombrovskis.

    During the meeting the parties discussed the significance of the establishment of the Associated Trio and its future goals, namely in terms of European Integration and coordinating in terms of common goals, by developing cooperation with the EU, including in terms of establishing sectoral dialogue on economic and trade issues.

    MFA Georgia

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