NATO says planned war games in Georgia will still go ahead, despite Moscow’s demands to call them off.
Earlier, Russia described the military exercises as an “absurd provocation,” with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warning they threatened to undermine stability in the Caucasus. NATO has dismissed the claim, with spokesman Robert Pszczel saying: ‘‘It was planned to take place in Georgia and that was known for a long time. Georgia is with the same rights and responsibilities in the ‘Partnership for Peace’ programme.’‘ He added ‘‘Russia could have joined any time, still could. Although the exercises are starting pretty soon on May 6. But it’s open, I stress again, to all partner countries.’‘ Some 1,300 troops from 19 countries are expected to take part in the month-long exercises. Moscow and NATO recently agreed to resume full-scale relations after they were cut last year.