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Russian Military Practices Peace Enforcement in Conflict Zones

Russia’s North Caucasian Military District (SKVO) launched on July 15 large scale military exercises, Kavkaz-2008, involving 8,000 personnel from the Army, the Interior Ministry and border guards of the Federal Security Service, Russian news agencies reported.

“The main goal of the exercises is to assess a joint response of military administrations against the background of a terrorist threat in the south of Russia,” Interfax and Itar-Tass news agencies quoted an aide to the commander of the Russian land forces, Igor Konashenkov, as saying. “In connection with an escalation in tension in the Georgian-Abkhaz and Georgian-Ossetian conflict zones, issues related to involvement in special peace enforcement operations in the zones of armed conflict will also be worked out during the exercises.”

He also said that around 700 pieces of military hardware were involved in the exercises.

Meanwhile, about 2,000 soldiers, mainly from the United States and Georgia, launched military exercises Immediate Response-2008 at the Vaziani base outside Tbilisi on July 15.

Smaller units from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine are also taking part in the exercises.
U.S. Brigadier General William B. Garrett told journalists in Vaziani that the main purpose of the exercises was to increase the cooperation between U.S. and Georgian forces.

The exercises, which were planned by the U.S. European Command, were first announced in January, 2008.


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