Four warships of the Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) arrived at the port of Poti in western Georgia, the press office of the Georgian Interior Ministry reported on Monday.
“The warships of the Standing NATO Maritime Group Two and two Georgian coast guard ships – the Dioskuria and the Ochamchira – will hold joint drills. The exercises aim to enhance cohesion and interoperability between Georgia and the NATO naval forces,” the press office said in a statement.
The NATO naval group includes the Dutch flagship Evertsen, and also ships from Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania. The naval group is directed by SNMG2 Commander Boudewijn Boots. The warships will stay in Georgia until April 4.
NATO has paid growing attention to security issues in the Black Sea in recent years and is seeking to involve Georgia in this process.
Russia firmly stands against broader Georgia-NATO contacts and the alliance’s expansion towards its borders. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin earlier said that the efforts by the United States and other NATO countries to militarize Georgia caused great concern in the region and by no means enhanced Georgia’s own security.