TEL AVIV, June 11 (RIA Novosti) - Israel is limiting its cooperation with Georgia on military and technical issues due to pressure from Russia, a Georgian minister told the Jerusalem Post.
Israeli defense contractors have supplied Georgia with a wide range of military equipment and services, including drones. Some 'elite' Georgian troops have also been trained in Israel.
Georgian Integration Minister Temur Yakobashvili told the paper: "What I know is that while relations continue, there are some [military] items Israel is unwilling to sell to Georgia. And the reason for that is the Russian consideration."
"I definitely would not call it an embargo. Rather, it is taking political instability into consideration," Yakobashvili said.
Russia recognized the former Georgian republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states after last August's five-day war with Georgia, which launched a military offensive against South Ossetia in an attempt to bring it back under central control.
Since the conflict, Russia has criticized Georgia's allies, including Ukraine and the United States, for their military support of what it views as an aggressive regime.
The Jerusalem Post cited a source in the Israeli Ministry of Defense as confirming that "Russian complaints" had resulted in a "diminishing" of defense sales to Georgia. However, he said that all new defense contracts with Tbilisi would be considered, and that Israel would "uphold all past commitments."
In 2008, Israel's military exports were estimated at $7 billion.