22 June 2011, 17:00
Russia protests against US warship in Batumi port
On June 20 the US warship "Monterey" approached the Georgian port of the city of Batumi for joint military training exercises of the USA and Georgia to combat piracy. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs believes that the visit of the US ship in the Georgian port, which is not the only case, will not contribute to stability in the region.
On June 21 the warship "Monterey" held training exercises with the Georgian ship R-101 of the coast guard of Georgia. Plan and scenario of military training exercises were agreed at the meeting between officers of the Georgian coast guard and command of the US warship.
The warship "Monterey" (CG-61) regularly bases in the Black Sea region for several years already and it expresses US support for stability and maritime security in the Black Sea region, the agency "Georgia Online" reports. The warship of 173 meters is equipped with a ballistic anti-missile system "Aegis". There are 43 officers and 323 sailors on the board.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of the Russian Federation expressed its concern over US anti-missile cruiser entering the port of Batumi and described this visit to be demonstrative. The Ministry's official comment was published at its web page on June 21. "Whatever explanations of the US warship's visit are done, it is clear that the visit will be estimated by the Georgian authorities as encouragement of their revenge ambitions regarding Russian allies – Abkhazia and South Ossetia – and therefore it will fail to contribute to stability in the region," stated the Russian MFA's message.
The Georgian side does not understand Russia's anxiety concerning the fact that the warship "Monterey" of the United States Navy entered the port of Batumi. "Russia has nothing to say on this issue, because these are training exercises which are conducted on the basis of agreement between two sovereign countries and which would be continued in the future," said Nino Kalandadze, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia, at the press conference on June 20.
According to Ms Kalandadze, the US warship entering the waters of Georgia "serves to defend security of the region". "Regular visit of US warships in the Black Sea means that the Black Sea region is important, and much attention is paid to maintain stability in the region and improve its quality," the agency "GHN" quoted Ms Kalandadze's speech.