NATO has been increasing its naval presence in the Black Sea during the recent several days.
“The US Navy destroyer USS McFaul, which is currently docked in the Georgian port of Batumi, carries about 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles on board. They are outfitted with nuclear warheads and are meant to hit ground targets. The remaining NATO ships are currently concentrated in the northern part of the Black Sea,” a source in the military intelligence of the Russian Federation said.
He added that other NATO ships drifting in the Black Sea were armed with 64 anti-ship Harpoon missiles and about eight helicopters.
Washington insists that the ships, which appeared near Georgia’s shores, have been deployed there in accordance with George W. Bush’s decision, who ordered to deliver humanitarian aid to the Georgian military. Other NATO warships – Germany’s Luebeck, Spain’s Adm. Juan de Bourbon and Poland’s General K. Pulaski arrived to the shores of Bulgaria and Romania to participate in the military exercise that was scheduled along ago and has nothing to do with the conflict in Georgia.
“It is strange that such a large group of NATO warships has arrived for a joint exercise with Bulgaria or Romania. Usually, only one or two warships participate in such exercises, so the attempts to substantiate the presence of the naval group with a military exercise does not withstand any criticism,” the source said.
“It is clear that all statements made by the political and defense administration of NATO members are accompanied with outspoken militarist demarches. The use of nuclear weapons by NATO ships in the Black Sea is out of the question. The conventional weapons, which the NATO naval group has in the region, are more than enough to achieve any defense goals, which can be exemplified with Yugoslavia,” the source said.
The port of Batumi is the only port, which US warships can access on the Georgian territory. The port of Poti, which is larger and more convenient, remains under the control of Russia’s troops.
Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with Al-Jazeera in Sochi that Russia’s recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia had only one goal – to help the people living in the two republics.
“There are no other motives in our actions,” Medvedev said answering the question about Russia’s possible intention to destabilize the government of Mikhail Saakashvili and change the political regime in the country, RIA Novosti reports.
“We only want to help the people who find themselves in trouble today. As for Saakashvili and his regime, we do not like it indeed. It is obvious that he did not only make a mistake but committed a crime. He must account for this crime to the people of Georgia and to the international community,” Medvedev said.
Medvedev emphasized that Russia had acknowledged the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia to stop the extermination of their nations and help the regions to their feet. The president also stressed out that Moscow had completely carried out its pledges of the Medvedev-Sarkozy agreement. He added that the Russian troops had been pulled out from Georgia except for the so-called safety strip.
When asked whether Russian troops are still present in Georgia, Medvedev responded that such statements were not true to fact.
Russia is concerned about a possibility to deliver military hardware to Georgia on board NATO warships, which would only escalate the tension in the Caucasus.
“The absence of control over the cargoes, which NATO warships deliver to Georgia cannot but raise concerns with us. When there’s no control, there’s no guarantee that various weapons, for example man-portable missile systems, have not been or will not be delivered to Georgia. It can also be reconnaissance equipment including unmanned aerial vehicles,” the source said.
“We have the main attack force of NATO’s navy in the Black Sea, which acts under the guise of delivering humanitarian cargo or holding military exercises,” the source added.
In the meantime, Georgia is ready to single-handedly cut diplomatic ties with Russia. It will happen in response to Russia’s recognition of the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
Georgia’s Minister for Reintegration Timure Yakobashvili believes that Russia will not be alone in the implementation of the plan to dismember Georgia, as he said.
“It is quite possible that Russia has already won the support of some countries. But it is not ‘some countries’ that determine world politics. It is not an honor for Russia to be on the list with such subjects either,” he said.
The official added that Georgia would never put up with the loss of territories.
“The actions, which Russia has taken, will boomerang against it,” Yakobashvili said.
Washington believes that Russia will view the naval buildup in the Black Sea as a normal activity. Russia has rich experience of communication with US warships there