YEREVAN — The Armenian and U.S. militaries will start a joint exercise in Armenia on September 11, the Defense Ministry in Yerevan announced on Wednesday.

The Pentagon confirmed the information, with a U.S. military spokesperson telling Reuters that 85 U.S. soldiers and 175 Armenians will take part in the ten-day exercise codenamed Eagle Partner 2023. He said the Americans — including members of the Kansas National Guard which has a 20-year-old training partnership with Armenia — will be armed with rifles and will not be using heavy weaponry.

According to the Armenian Defense Ministry, the participating troops will practice taking “stabilization actions” during a joint peacekeeping operation in an imaginary conflict zone.

“The purpose of the exercise is to increase the level of interoperability of units participating in international peacekeeping missions … to exchange best practices in command-and-control and tactical communication as well as to increase the readiness of the Armenian [peacekeeping] unit for the planned Operational Capabilities Concept evaluation by NATO,” the ministry added in a statement.

The United States and Armenia are not known to have held a bilateral military exercise in the past.

The announcement of The Armenian and U.S. militaries joint exercise has prompted Russian concern.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said later on Wednesday that news of the U.S.-Armenian war games is “causes apprehension, especially in the current situation.”

“Therefore, we will deeply analyze this news and monitor the situation,” Peskov told journalists.

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