NATO Holds Joint Drills on Georgia’s Black Sea Coast

BATUMI, Georgia – The NATO military alliance has sent four naval war ships to Georgia’s Black Sea port of Batumi as part of a scheduled month-long training mission, the alliance announced on February 12.

The naval contingent is part of NATO’s immediate reaction force, which is currently undergoing an alliance-wide overhaul of its defensive capabilities in light of Russia’s belligerent actions in Ukraine and Syria and Moscow’s on going major military buildup in the Black Sea region.

The ships will participate in joint exercises and training missions with Georgian naval and marine forces.

“We are here today to demonstrate NATO’s support as well as stress our strong and mutually beneficial cooperation with Georgia,” NATO’s United Naval Forces commander Giorgio Lazio said at a press conference held in Batumi with Georgia’s Internal Affairs Minister Giorgi Mgebrishvili.

Lazio emphasized that NATO-Georgian naval cooperation strengthens peace and stability in the Black Sea.

Turkish Naval Forces’ Staff Colonel Ramazan Kesgin stressed the importance of the visit, saying that deepening cooperation with Georgia’s fledgling navy is a vital part of NATO’s security plans for 2016.

NATO launched a joint training center in Georgia in August 2015, part of the so-called substantial package of cooperation with Georgia’s armed forces. The center will start the tactical training of Georgian soldiers in May.


16 February 2016 14:41