Russia’s military exercises, Kavkaz-2012, planned for September “do not pose a threat to other countries or military blocs” and drills will only be held on the territory of Russia without involvement of military units based outside Russia, deputy chief of the Russian General Staff, Colonel General Alexander Postnikov, said on August 7.
“These won’t be large-scale exercises. Up to 8,000 servicemen will take part in these exercises, as well as about 200 units of combat weaponry and hardware, about 100 units of artillery, about ten ships and cutters; during the drills air force will conduct about 80 flights,” Russian news agencies reported, quoting Col. Gen. Postnikov.
“In order to rule out additional tensions in relationship with some of our neighbors, units from our military bases in Armenia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia will be absent in these exercises,” he said.
“There are no representatives of other states among the participants of the exercises. Drills, Kavkaz-2012 will only be held on the territory of the Russian Federation,” he added.
Officials in Tbilisi are worried about the planned large scale exercises fearing that Russia might be trying to increase tensions in the region and deploy forces that can be used to attack Georgia just like in 2008; Russia held large-scale military maneuvers Kavkaz-2008 less than a month before the August war in 2008.
There have been reports earlier this year that the Kavkaz-2012 would also involve troops from Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Republican Congressman, Chris Smith, who is a chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, said last week that “Russia should cancel” its planned large-scale military exercises, adding that holding of these drills “on occupied Georgian territory is a crude intimidation stunt.”