In January, the Defense Department notified Congress of its intent to fund $33 million in security assistance for Georgia.
“Today, I’m pleased to announce that we’ve approved Georgia for the risk-assessed payment schedule so Georgia will be able to request and acquire vital military capabilities more easily,” said Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, who hosted a visit by Georgian Defense Minister Juansher Burchuladze at the Pentagon today.
“This announcement reflects the value that we place on our bilateral defense relationship and our partnership,” Austin added.
For three decades, the United States supported Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, Austin noted.
“Georgia deepened its ties to the West and supported its path to Euro-Atlantic integration. And over that time, Georgia has made significant contributions to global security,” Austin said.
Georgian military units have served and sacrificed alongside U.S. and NATO forces in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, he said.
“Georgia was the largest per capita troop contributor to the NATO mission in Afghanistan,” Austin noted.
“We deeply appreciate Georgia’s outsized effect on security and stability in the South Caucasus and around the world and our security partnership continues to deepen,” he said.
Georgia is part of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, which met at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Jan. 20.
“Georgia’s participation in the contact group helps us all strengthen Ukraine’s ability to defend itself and to bolster the rules-based international border that keeps us all secure. And that’s crucial as Ukraine continues to fight bravely against Russia’s unprovoked and unjust invasion,” Austin said.
In October 2021, Austin and Burchuladze met in Georgia, where the secretary announced the Georgia Defense and Deterrence Enhancement Initiative.
“This is a new bilateral program to make important reforms in the Georgian military, Georgian ministry of defense and armed forces and to strengthen their territorial defense and resilience capacity,” Austin said.
Burchuladze said Georgia values its strategic partnership with the U.S., “which is essential for Georgia’s defense and peaceful and stable development. We treasure our partnership, our shared beliefs, values and interests, which we have been defending together over the past three decades.”
Georgia defense forces proudly serve alongside U.S. and allied troops in the most dangerous spots, he said.
Burchuladze mentioned that Russia not only invaded Ukraine; it earlier invaded Georgia.
The Russo-Georgian War took place in August 2008 in the Georgian areas of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.