The military exercise in the former Soviet republic of Georgia Cooperative Best Effort 2002 started at Vasiany Base on June 17, and it will last until June 28. Up to 800 military men from 15 NATO countries are participating in the exercise. The first exercise within NATO’s program Partnership for Peace took place in Georgia last year on the outskirts of Poti.
The scenario of the exercise is based on NATO’s peacemaking operations on the border of two countries, which appeared from one single state. According to the scenario, the conditional state broke into two separate countries, which resulted in a conflict on the border afterwards. The armed forces of the two countries lost control over the borderline, there was a huge flow of refugees, and the UN authorized NATO to deploy its forces in the zone of the conflict in order to bring peace and order.
You don’t have to be very smart to guess that this is about the conflict between Georgia and the unrecognized republic of Abkhazia, the scenario of which was picked out for the current exercise. NATO did not take account of the seriousness of the situation, which had been formed there. This was the reason why they had to pay for it.
A correspondent of Interfax reported on Tuesday that the international peacemaking force caused a conflict between one ethnic group of the local population and peacemakers trying to return refugees to their village. Dozens of refugees from Abkhazia who temporarily lived in the settlement of Vasiany were invited as extras, but they took their role quite seriously, and sometimes the game turned into real fights.
The soldiers that were trying to break up the meeting of the “conditional” local people that were protesting NATO troops’ presence on their territory were shown very vigorous resistance. The extras got downright angry and furious, trying to finish off with NATO military men. Interfax reporter managed to photograph three blood-stained extras and two NATO soldiers, who were rendered the medical aid immediately. In spite of this bloody incident, both the extras and the soldiers apologized and shook hands. Adult men’s games can be very dangerous sometimes, and the line where games are not games anymore is so easy to cross.
Dmitry Chirkin PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969