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    15 July 2009

    US Navy arrives in Georgia for exercises

    The American guided missile destroyer USS Stout has dropped anchor off the Georgian Black Sea port of Batumi to take part naval training exercises with Georgian coastguards and Turkish ships.

    It is being seen as a show of solidarity with the ex-Soviet state after its short war with Russia last year.

    The exercises begin today, which is also when the final UN ceasefire observers leave the country.

    For 16 years they have patrolled the border with Abkazia, a region that broke away from Georgia in 1993, and whose independence, along with South Ossetia’s Russia recognised after the 5-day war.

    On Tuesday the Russian president visited South Ossetia for the first time since then. Dmitry Medvedev hinted that if Georgia tried to use force in the region again so would Moscow, adding “I hope this lesson will be deeply engrained in the memory of those trying to reshape the currrent order”.

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