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  Tuesday, February 18, 2020
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NATO's decision to hold exercises in Georgia next month threatens
NATO's decision to hold exercises in Georgia next month threatens to complicate ties with Russia, the Russian president said on Friday.

The Cooperative Longbow 09/Cooperative Lancer 09 command-and-staff exercise, led by the Western military bloc, will be held from May 6 through June 1, and will not feature light or heavy weaponry.

"Such decisions are disappointing and do nothing to help restore full-level contacts between the Russian Federation and NATO," Dmitry Medvedev said.

He warned that Moscow "will be closely watching" the drills and "if necessary, make appropriate decisions."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov slammed on Thursday NATO's exercise plans, saying they could give the Georgian regime a sense of impunity, and raise tensions in the Caucasus region.

NATO said Russia is welcome to join its military exercises in Georgia, but from every indication, the invitation has been ignored by Moscow.

The drills are aimed at improving interoperability between NATO and partner countries, within the framework of Partnership for Peace, Mediterranean Dialogue and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative programs.

A total of 19 countries will be participating in the exercises: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Hungary, Greece, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Serbia, Spain, Macedonia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Great Britain, and the U.S.


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