U.S. Warship Arrives in Batumi

A U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer, the USS McFaul, anchored off the coast of Batumi on August 24.

The U.S. warship delivered humanitarian aid of 82 pallets with over 70 tons of supplies including hygiene items, baby food and care supplies, bottled water, and milk, the U.S. European Command said. The aid, it said, had been donated by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID),

The destroyer is off Batumi, about 75 kilometers from the major port town of Poti, which remains under the control of Russian forces. There is a Russian checkpoint at the entrance to the town.

Georgian Defense Minister Davit Kezerashvili told journalists in Batumi on August 24 that “the infrastructure of the port of Poti was damaged” in Russian air strikes. He also said that the presence of the U.S. navy ship in Georgia meant that “no one in the world would allow Putin’s Russia” to meddle in Georgia.

The U.S. is delivering aid by air as well. As of August 23 the U.S. military has flown 41 air support missions to Tbilisi, according to the U.S. European Command. It also said that ships could carry much more cargo per mission than aircraft, which have a capacity of three to 12 pallets per sortie.

Two more ships are also expected to join USS McFaul – the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Dallas (WHEC 716) and USS Mount Whitney.

[Source: Civil Georgia, Tbilisi, 24Aug08]

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