U.S. and Georgian troops simulate a combined attack on a building occupied by the ''enemy'' during joint military exercises in the South Caucasian republic. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) U.S. and Georgian forces on Sunday (May 17) continued their two-week-long military exercises at Vaziani military base in the South Caucasian republic, a move that is likely to irritate Georgia's former Soviet master Russia. About 600 U.S. and Georgian soldiers are taking part in the maneuvers, for which the U.S. army for the first time transported an entire mechanized company, including 14 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, across the Black Sea from Bulgaria. US and Georgia forces have shared a real war experience in Afghanistan and might have to fight together again in the future, said Commander of US 173 airborne brigade Mike Foster. "For us this is a reformulation of a partnership that we have had with the Georgians," Foster said. "We have trained with the Georgians before, we have served in Afghanistan with Georgia as well, so being here for this exercise is absolutely a unique opportunity for us, We've got an airborne company that's here, we've got a mechanized company from the United States army that's here, and so that team coming together to partner with the first light infantry brigade from Georgia is absolutely the way that we are going to be fighting in the future. So a combined exercise with both nations here is absolutely a unique opportunity for us," Foster said. On Sunday, US and Georgian troops with the support of armored vehicles simulated a combined attack on a building occupied by the "enemy" with the goal to seize it, he said. Georgia has U.S. backing for its bid to join the Western NATO alliance. But the move is firmly opposed by Russia, which fought a five-day war with Georgia in 2008 and supports separatist authorities in two Georgian breakaway regions: Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Vaziani military base, near the capital Tbilisi where the exercises are taking place, was a Russian air force base until Russian forces withdrew at the start of the last decade under a European arms reduction agreement. Russia, which is currently holding naval drills with China in the Mediterranean, did not offer any immediate reaction to the Georgian exercises.