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Russia Starts Large-Scale Military Exercise Ahead Of NATO Drills In Georgia

Two armies of Russia's Southern Military District on July 24 began a large-scale military exercise in the region ahead of a scheduled NATO exercise in Georgia, TASS reported, citing the district's press service.

District commander Colonel General Aleksandr Dvornikov is leading the command-and-staff exercise involving the 49th and 58th armies.

The officer said the exercise is part of a summer plan to involve nearly all of the military district's formations, including the Black Sea Fleet and Caspian Flotilla.

The Southern District is considered Russia's main outpost.

It is supposed to ensure the security of the Black Sea region, counter terrorist groups in the North Caucasus, and support the Russian Air Force's campaign in Syria.

It is provided with the latest models of Russian weapons and equipment as a matter of priority.

The Russian exercise comes ahead of the Agile Spirit NATO exercises in Georgia that start on July 27, involving 14 member countries and 3,000 soldiers.

It runs through August 9. It is the ninth time that Georgia is hosting the exercise.

Its purpose is to strengthen interoperability, training, and improve operational capabilities, Agenda.ge reported.

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