© Vano Shlamov/AFPGeorgian military • ‘Noble Partner 2018’ exercise • Vaziani training center outside Tbilisi • August 1, 2018
The indefinite postponement of 'Noble Partner' wargames comes a month after Georgia adopted a controversial 'foreign agent' law.

The US has suspended this year's 'Noble Partner' military exercise with Georgia due to a "comprehensive review" of bilateral relations by Washington. The maneuvers, which have previously involved troops from multiple NATO member states, had been held annually since 2015.

In early June, the legislation - officially known as the Transparency of Foreign Influence Act - came into force, after the ruling Georgian Dream party overrode a veto by President Salome Zourabichvili. The law requires NGOs, media outlets and individuals which receive more than 20% of their funding from abroad to register as entities "promoting the interests of a foreign power" and disclose their donors. Failure to comply will result in a fine of up to $9,500.

Opponents of the bill, who denounce it as an attack on democracy, have held multiple protests. Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze insists the legislation is similar to laws in several Western nations, and is meant to improve transparency.

The adoption of the law drew condemnation from the US and European Union. Washington has announced plans to restrict visas for Georgian politicians who supported the legislation.

In a press release on Friday, the US Department of Defense announced that the "United States will indefinitely postpone this iteration of exercise NOBLE PARTNER in Georgia, originally scheduled for July 25 - August 6, 2024."

According to the statement, the decision was made "due to the Georgian government's false accusations against the United States and other western entities." The Pentagon cited several remarks made by Prime Minister Kobakhidze in recent months.

In early May, the official claimed that "two revolution attempts of 2020-2023 [were] supported by the former US ambassador." Later that month, he doubled down on the accusations, saying that "Georgian-American relations need to be reconsidered."

Speaking to Georgia's Channel 1 around the same time, Kobakhidze alleged that "some people want muddy water here... people want a second front [against Russia]. We don't want a second front."

In light of those allegations, "the United States Government has determined that this is an inappropriate time to hold a large-scale military exercise in Georgia," the Pentagon's press release concluded.

Commenting on the adoption of the 'foreign agent' law in Georgia in early June, US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller warned that the developments "fundamentally alter the US relationship with" the South Caucasus nation, which has long been seeking to join the EU and NATO.

The official stressed that Washington "would not hesitate to impose" sanctions on Tbilisi.