Georgia, U.S. troops hold joint NATO drills in wet conditions near Tbilisi

U.S. paratroopers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade take part in the multinational military exercise "Agile Spirit 2021" at Vaziani training area, in Georgia July 28, 2021. REUTERS/Irakli Gedenidze

TBILISI (Reuters) - Georgian and U.S. troops practised treating wounded soldiers in heavy rain on Wednesday as joint military drills between Georgia and NATO members were held at training areas close to the capital Tbilisi.

The exercises, called Agile Spirit, will involve around 2,500 personnel from 15 allied and partner forces, the United States has said.

The drills come amid increased tensions between NATO and Russia, which borders Georgia and said in June it had fired warning shots and dropped bombs in the path of a British warship to chase it out of Black Sea waters off the coast of Crimea.

Ukraine is also holding military drills in the Lviv region until July 30. Relations between Kyiv and Moscow plummeted after Russia seized Crimea and over Russia's support for separatist forces in the conflict in Ukraine's eastern Donbass region.

Russia and Georgia fought a short war in 2008 and around one-fifth of Georgia's territory remains garrisoned by Russian troops.

Video footage on Wednesday showed soldiers engaging in live-fire training exercises in wet and muddy conditions and U.S. and Georgian troops working together on medical treatment exercises.

The U.S. Army Europe and Africa said last month that the cooperatively-led, joint multinational exercise would run from July 26 to Aug 6.

The United States named Georgia, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Italy, and Azerbaijan as the participating countries.

(Reporting by David Chkhikvishvili in Tbilisi; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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