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US Congress Approves Sale of Javelin Anti-Tank Missiles to Georgia

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, December 21
(TBILISI) -- Defense Minister Levan Izoria announced Tuesday that the US Congress has given its final approval to sell Javelin anti-tank missiles and supporting units to Georgia.

Izoria called the finalized deal a ‘watershed development’ in Georgia’s self-defense capabilities.

After being defeated by Moscow’s superior and far larger mechanized forces in the 2008 Russia-Georgian War, Tbilisi has repeatedly tried to close a deal with the US for Javelin missiles.

“The latest decision shows the US’ deep support for Georgia,” said Izoria.

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency approved the $75 million arms deal with Georgia. The sale, however, still required the final approval of the US Congress before being finalized.

Moscow claims the sale will cause a regional arms race between rival governments whose allegiances are divided between the West and Russia. The US State Department, however, says the deal will not alter the basic strategic balance in the Caucasus.

The American-made Javelin is a portable, shoulder-fired anti-tank missile that is particularly effective against Soviet and Russian-made T-80s and T-90s, the main battle tanks of the Russian armed forces and their secessionist allies in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.