Strategic Defense Review 2017-2020: Russia Remains Top Threat to Georgia

Russia remains the main threat to Georgia, according to the Strategic Defense Review 2017-2020, released by the Ministry of Defense (MoD) of Georgia. The 45-page strategic document says that the Kremlin is trying to weaken Georgian state institutions and strengthen pro-Russian public and political groups by using soft power. The document defines the directions of the ministry as well as structural, institutional and operative capacities of the armed forces and refers to threats and challenges.

It also identifies the main directions for the development of the MoD and Georgian Armed Forces (GAF) over the next three years and aims to enhance the GAF’s capabilities. The document considers Georgia’s security environment within local, regional, and global frameworks. “Signing the so-called liaison agreements between Russia and occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions’ authorities and the absence of international peacekeeping missions in the occupied territories increases the risk of the restoration of military aggression,” the document reads.

The strategic review also says that Russia’s military aggression in August 2008, the occupation of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, and the deployment of Russia’s occupation forces and military infrastructure has significantly worsened the security environment in the country. “Recognition of Abkhazia’s and Tskhinvali’s independence and the continuation of the creeping annexation violate Georgia’s sovereignty and international law norms and roughly tarnish the fundamental rights of the local population,” the document reads. Moreover, according to the document, the situation in the breakaway regions fosters an environment for spreading transnational organized crime. The document emphasizes that Russia will continue efforts aimed at weakening Georgia’s national and civil unity, causing enmity between ethnic and religious groups and destabilization. “The Kremlin will especially focus on strengthening the ‘soft power’ elements in order to weaken of state institutions, strengthen pro-Russian groups and discredit the western course,” the strategic review reads.

In relation to the regional security environment, the document says that recent unstable situation in the Black Sea region, the annexation of Crimea, the unstable situation in north Caucasus, and the unresolved Karabakh conflict negatively influence Georgia’s security environment. “Within the global framework, globalization, climate change, the migration processes, international terrorism, the spread of weapons of mass destruction and cyber threats negatively affect Georgia’s security. At the same time, the increasing international ambitions of Russia promote confrontation between the west and east that causes challenges for security of the EU and Georgia,” the document says.

The document says that the United States, NATO, and the EU remain the main partners of Georgia. The Strategic Defense Review 2017-2020 was approved by the government of Georgia. Thea Morrison

Photo source:Getty images

25 April 2017 13:01

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