NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in a video call today addressed Georgian leaders, local and foreign military personnel and diplomats attending NATO-Georgia Exercise 2022.
“This exercise, which we conducted for the third time, shows NATO’s commitment to strengthen Georgia’s defense capabilities,” the NATO chief said, arguing that “by training and educating its armed forces, it is demonstrating NATO’s close cooperation with Georgia.”
“Strong and capable armed forces are key to uphold Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. And NATO will continue to support you in your efforts,” Secretary General Stoltenberg stressed.
“Because we believe in the rules-based international order. Where democracy prevails over tyranny. And where people are safe, free and prosperous,” he added.
Condemning Russia’s “brutal and senseless” attack on Ukraine, the NATO chief reminded of Russia’s previous transgressions – its war against Georgia in 2008 and invasion of Ukraine’s Crimea in 2014.
The Secretary General stressed NATO was “determined to continue to impose heavy costs on the Kremlin, to bring about an end to this brutal war” and to step up its support to Ukraine, providing military equipment, financial assistance, and humanitarian aid.
Alluding to Moscow’s demands for NATO to reject membership bids of Georgia and Ukraine, Jens Stoltenberg reiterated the Alliance’s commitment to defend its core principles, including every country’s right to choose its own path.
“This is also Georgia’s right,” the NATO chief said. “And it must be respected.”
President Salome Zurabishvili, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, and Parliamentary Speaker Shalva Papuashvili have also addressed the crowed at the NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Center.
For the third time now, Georgia is hosting the joint computer-assisted, command post drills with NATO and its partners. Held once every three years, the first ever joint exercise took place in 2016, followed by one in 2019.
The exercise, organized within the scope of the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package (SNGP), aims to enhance Georgia’s interoperability with the Alliance.
The drills are set to wrap up on March 25, as stated by Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili.