The U.S. navy and the Georgian government are currently trying to determine whether the next U.S. humanitarian shipment will be again delivered to Batumi, or to Poti, a U.S. navy official told Civil.Ge
Earlier on August 26 Reuters and The Associated Press reported, quoting a U.S. embassy representative in Tbilisi as saying that U.S. ship-borne humanitarian aid will be delivered to Poti on August 27.
U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. John Gay, however, told Civil.Ge via phone: “I can not confirm the next port at this time.”
He said that the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Dallas (WHEC 716) was on its way to Georgia.
“The U.S. navy is working with the government of Georgia to determine the best place to off-load the next shipment of humanitarian assistance,” he said. “The ship will be U.S. Coast Guard cutter Dallas, but they are working with the Georgian government right now [to determine] where it will dock and where the Georgian government wants those supplies to be delivered.”
“We are looking at all options,” he said, adding that a decision would be made soon, “possibly today.”
Russian troops currently maintain two checkpoints at the entrance of Poti, controlling the strategic port town.
A U.S. navy guided missile destroyer, the USS McFaul, had to anchor off the coast of Batumi on August 24, delivering humanitarian aid, instead of Poti.
The U.S. navy official said that USS McFaul had already left Batumi, but the warship “is currently conducting routine operations in the Black Sea.”
Meanwhile, Anatoly Nogovitsin, the deputy chief of the general staff of the Russian armed forces, said at a news conference in Moscow on August 26 that the presence of NATO warships in the Black Sea did not contribute to stability in the region.
“The heightened activity of NATO ships in the Black Sea perplexes us,” Nogovitsin said. “It is hard to believe that those warships are there just to bring humanitarian aid.”
He claimed that 10 ships from NATO nations were currently in the Black Sea and that eight more were about to join them.
Nogovitsin also said that military vessels of Russia’s Black Sea fleet were off Sokhumi, breakaway Abkhazia’s capital, to transport Russian military hardware and personnel back to Russia.