NATO naval grouping in Black Sea to be brought to 18 warships - Gen.Staff

The Russian military is concerned about the build-up of the NATO warship grouping in the Black Sea and does not believe their mission is to deliver humanitarian aid to Georgia.

"The flurry of activity of the NATO naval forces, which continue building up their grouping in the Black Sea, arouses suspicion," Russian General Staff Deputy Head Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn told the press in Moscow on Tuesday.

Whereas there were nine NATO warships in the Black Sea at noon August 25, by the evening one more U.S frigate passed through the Bosporus Strait, he said. "Moreover, we have learned that eight more NATO warships are to arrive shortly," Nogovitsyn said.

"What is the purpose of all this? References are being made to scheduled exercises. And indeed, one can see some legitimacy in this. But these eight [warships, expected to arrive in the Black Sea] will carry cargoes of a different kind, not humanitarian aid," Nogovitsyn


"It's very hard to believe that all other arrivals [of NATO warships at Georgian ports] were for humanitarian aid purposes only, as declared," the general said.

[Source: Interfax, Moscow, 26Aug08]

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