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Russian Deputy FM Downplays Tbilisi's Concerns over Kavkaz-2012 Drills
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 9 Apr.'12 / 15:30

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Grigory Karasin, said it was “hardly appropriate” to kick up a fuss over Russia’s planned military exercise Kavkaz-2012 this fall. 

Karasin said that during the recent round of Geneva talks on March 29, the Russian side briefed the participants about the planned military drills.

“Such command and staff exercises of Russian armed forces are held regularly in various regions of Russia,” he said in an interview with the Russian magazine Ogoniok, published on April 9.

“Participation of our military units or military bases, deployed abroad, as well as militaries of foreign countries, in these [exercises] is not planned. Stirring up a fuss about it is hardly appropriate. It seems to be again aimed at addressing political goals of the Georgian leadership,” Karasin said.

President Saakashvili said on March 31, that Russia’s planned military exercises, Kavkaz-2012, this fall was timed deliberately to coincide with Georgia’s parliamentary elections.

“It is not a coincidence that our neighbor scheduled its large-scale military exercises for second half of September, just several days before elections [in Georgia]. This timing is really not a coincidence,” Saakashvili said on March 31.

After the nineteenth round of Geneva talks on March 29, the Georgian negotiator, Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergi Kapanadze, said that the Georgian side received “some encouraging clarifications” from the Russian negotiators about the planned military drills. He said the Georgian side was told by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin that Russia was “not going to involve the Russian troops located outside the Russian Federation” in the planned military exercises.

“This is rather encouraging,” Kapanadze said. “If this statement by Mr. Karasin is confirmed by the Russian Ministry of Defense and if the facts on the ground correspond to this statement then we would say that this is a positive development.”

In January it was reported by the Russian sources, that large-scale military exercises Kavkaz-2012 would also involve Abkhaz and South Ossetian military units and Tbilisi said it had information that Russia wanted to involve its forces stationed in the Russian military base in Gyumri, Armenia.

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