Published: Wed, August 02, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Pence addresses Noble Partner 2017, says Trump will sign sanctions against Russian Federation

Pence addresses Noble Partner 2017, says Trump will sign sanctions against Russian Federation

Trump "will sign the Russian sanctions bill soon", Pence said at a news conference later with Kvirikashvili.

"These exercises will help Georgia to get closer to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation standards and to strengthen stability in the whole region", Kvirikashvili said at the opening ceremonies at the Vaziani military base near the capital, Tbilisi.

"I'm here to say America First does not mean America alone", Pence stated.

The Trump administration may have expressed a desire to improve relations with Russian Federation, but Mike Pence has spent the last few days sticking a thumb in Vladimir Putin's eye.

Pence's comments followed Trump's decision to sign a Russian sanctions bill, and Russia's retaliatory expulsion of 755 American diplomats. About 800 Georgian and 1,600 USA troops are taking part in the Noble Partner 2017 drills there.

In Georgia, officials said Pence will highlight USA support for the Caucasus nation's sovereignty and territorial integrity before continuing on to Montenegro.

Standing alongside Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Pence pledged firm USA support for the tiny Caucasus nation and slammed Russia's military presence of its territory since a brief 2008 war.

The move came in the wake of new sanctions voted through by the US Congress last week which aim to punish Moscow for interfering in the 2016 presidential election and over its military involvement in Ukraine and Syria. Officials from Estonia have warned that Russian Federation could leave a permanent troop presence behind in Belarus after the drills and thus a larger military footprint in Russia's Western Military District. "Undoubtedly, we respect the relations of our neighboring states with the United States and other countries of the world", Peskov explained. US congressional panels and a special counsel are investigating.

The visit comes a day after Pence met with the presidents of the three Baltic nations of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia in the Estonian capital of Tallinn. After the meeting, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said that the United States would double its air policing mission in the Baltics during Russia's Zapad drills. "At this very moment, Russian Federation continues to seek to redraw worldwide borders by force, undermine the democracies of sovereign nations, and divide the free nations of Europe against one another".

Today, we recommit ourselves to the cause of security, prosperity, and freedom for the people of Georgia. The goal of the exercise is to prepare and assess Georgian forces for certification and participation in 2017's NATO Response Force (NRF), according to an announcement.

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