Russia invites NATO members to International Army Games exercise

Russia’s defense minister said it is sending out invitations to NATO states to take part in annual Moscow-led military drills called the “International Army Games.”

Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu has invited “troops from 90 countries including NATO members,” the ministry said on its website on Friday, January 24.

The games include events such as tank biathlon, where tank crews practice shooting, as well as an obstacle course.

This year’s games will focus on “security as a whole, medical care and logistics,” and should be visually entertaining, Shoygu said.

Around 6,000 troops were expected to take part in the event that runs from late August to early September, the ministry said.

Earlier this week, Chief of the General Staff of the French Armed Forces General François Lecointre said that France and Russia had been in talks for several months to find common ground in conflicts and “avoid confrontations that would be unfortunate for them as for us.”

Perhaps in the future, “we could envisage the possibility of joint operational preparations,” he said, though “we are not there yet.”

Last year, several European Union countries sent observers and Greece took part in the exercise.

The games, which have been held since 2015, usually include former Communist regimes such as China, Vietnam and Angola, as well as Russian allies like Iran.

NATO and Russia often spook each other with war games close to the border between Russia and eastern flank NATO allies.

With reporting from AFP

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