YEREVAN (Reuters) - Russian ally Armenia on Tuesday pulled out of NATO military exercises due to begin in Georgia citing “the current situation,” after the neighboring state said it had put down a mutiny at a military base.
Georgia, which said it quashed the rebellion at a base near Tbilisi, accused Russia of trying to foment a wider uprising to disrupt the month-long NATO exercises due to begin on Wednesday.
“In the current situation the representatives of the armed forces of the Republic of Armenia will not participate in the NATO Partnership for Peace exercises,” the Armenian Defense Ministry said in a statement, without elaborating.
Armenia is Russia’s strategic ally in the South Caucasus.
Moscow has condemned the planned exercises as an attempt at NATO “muscle-flexing,” coming nine months after war between Russia and Georgia over breakaway South Ossetia.
Former Soviet Kazakhstan and Serbia have also pulled out of the exercises, which the Western military alliance says will involve around 1,000 soldiers from over a dozen NATO member states and partner nations.
Reporting by Hasmik Mkrtchyan; Editing by Sophie Hares