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U.S. Marines Exercise With Georgians, Russia Calls It "Provocation"

President Mikheil Saakashvilii watches the Agile Spirit exercises with Lt Col. Richard Coates, commanding officer of the U.S. Marine contingent at the exercise.

U.S. Marines and Georgian soldiers are conducting joint military exercises and, in a development that everyone saw coming, it's become controversial, with Russia calling it a "provocation."

The exercises include 350 Marines and 400 Georgian troops and are scheduled to end Wednesday after nine days of drills. The U.S. contingent is part of the Romania-based Black Sea Rotational Force. Their goal is to build military-military relations with the Georgians, while the Georgians are training to go to Afghanistan. From a Marine Corps press release:

"We have a little different way of doing things but we all learn by training and experience, so it’s good for us to share," said Sgt. Besiki Gabeshuili, 26, Company Sergeant, Company A, 42nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade. "This is my third time doing this type of training with the Marines and we are very excited because the experience helps prepare us to work together in the future."

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U.S. Marines Exercise With Georgians, Russia Calls It "Provocation"

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