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US Vella Gulf cruiser arrives in Batumi for joint drills with Georgian Coast Guards

The US Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser Vella Gulf has arrived in the port of Batumi on Georgia's Black Sea Coast on a friendly visit, the US Embassy in Georgia said on Monday.

The visit of the cruiser proves that the United States seeks to strengthen relations with NATO allies and partners like Georgia. The visit aims to contribute to promoting peace and stability in the Black Sea region, the embassy said.

The Vella Gulf cruiser will hold joint drills with the Georgian Coast Guard. The arrival of the cruiser continues previous voyages to Georgia by US Navy ships which have made friendly visits to Georgia several times since 2011.

The Ticonderoga class cruisers are armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, ASROC antisubmarine rockets and Standart-2 and Standart-3 ship-based missile systems. The cruisers can carry multipurpose helicopters.

The multi-mission cruiser Vella Gulf is 173 metres long, carries up to 400 crewmembers aboard and can achieve a speed of over 30 knots.

[Source: Itar Tass, Tbilisi, 18Aug14]

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