US warship anchors at Georgian port
The guided missile destroyer USS McFaul has anchored at the Georgian port of Batumi, escalating tensions in the conflict-stricken region.
The US says the destroyer, which arrived at the Black Sea port on Sunday, contains humanitarian aid including baby food, diapers, bottled water and milk, AP reported.
This is while the USS McFaul is outfitted with an array of weaponry, including Tomahawk cruise missiles, which can carry both conventional or nuclear warheads, and a sophisticated radar system.
The US Embassy said the destroyer was the first of five American ships scheduled to arrive this week.
Earlier, Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, deputy chief of Russia's general staff said that the arrival of the ship and those of other NATO members would escalate tensions, adding that NATO is setting up a naval force in the Black Sea under the 'cover' of aid deliveries to Georgia.
"Under the cover of needing to deliver humanitarian goods, NATO countries continue to boost their naval grouping," Nogovitsyn told a news conference in Moscow on Saturday.
The US Navy does not say if the ships are carrying nuclear weapons for security reasons.
Georgian military forces attacked South Ossetia to retake control of the independence-seeking province on August 8. In response, Russia moved its forces to the region where most of the population holds Russian citizenship.
The conflict ended after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a French-brokered ceasefire deal last week.
At least 2,000 people in South Osettia and about 150 in Georgia were killed in the conflict. Also, about 40,000 people were displaced in areas around the conflict zone, according to International Committee of the Red Cross.
[Source: Press TV, Irn, 24Aug08]
The Question of South Ossetia
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