The US Navy USS Ross (DDG 71) visited Batumi port for the first time on April 21. Members of the crew carried out joint training together with Georgian colleagues.
US Ship USS Ross in Batumi Port
By Natalia Kochiashvili
Thursday, April 25
According to the US Embassy, the visit serves to strengthen the cooperation between the US and Georgia with the support of regional peace and stability. USS Ross (DDG 71) is the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile fighter. The ship has technical data to parry air the underwater boats and ballistic missiles. As stated on the US embassy webpage "USS Ross's visit will once again emphasize the United States' commitment to NATO allies, strengthening ties to the partners and promoting security in the region."
The USS Ross is part of the Spanish Route and takes part in the sixth Fleet Operations Operations Area in multilateral missions, promoting the maritime security of the region and the support of NATO operations and missions in the Black Sea region. US Navy ships often operate in the Black Sea under the Montrose Convention and International Laws. The military vessel will leave Georgian waters today, April 25.
Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, US Ambassador Ross Wilson, Defense Minister Levan Izoria and Head of Georgia’s Border Police Temur Kekelidze attended official reception of the US Navy on April 23. As the PM stated at the event, Georgia-US relationships are at the highest level and Georgia is very proud of this. “Since the day of restoration of Georgia's independence, the US is always beside us and the Georgian people will never forget this. The security of the Black Sea region is becoming more and more important for the international community, our message has always been clear to our friends - the sustainable security of transatlantic states without security in the Black Sea region is unimaginable,” he added.
Acting US Ambassador to Georgia, Ross Wilson, confirms that the US ship USS Ross sailing in the Black Sea was tracked by two Russian military ships. "It’s fairly standard practice for the Russian navy to shadow or follow or track the activities of American and other allied military naval deployments into the Black Sea. We are exercising our rights, under international law, to carry out operations here. We believe those operations are important for our ability to work with our friends and partners, including in Georgia. We expect other countries to accept that” - commented American diplomat.
The information was also confirmed by the Russian news agency TASS. Citing the Russian National Defence Management Centre, TASS wrote: "upon entering the Black Sea, the US navy ship was placed under constant monitoring involving the fleet’s coastal surveillance facilities." As reported, Russian Navy Vasily Bykov-class patrol vessel and Russian Navy reconnaissance ship Ivan Khurs were monitoring USS Ross' movements in the Black Sea.
The Head of Georgia’s Border Police Temur Kekelidze said this is not the first case when Russia tracks ships in the Black Sea. However, he noted that the Russian ships have not entered territorial waters controlled by Georgia.
Georgian Defense Minister Levan Izoria has commented as well: "The dynamics we have, especially in the field of military cooperation with the other US and NATO member states, is unprecedented. In particular, this is the second military warship, and a week ago we hosted four NATO naval vessels. Visits will last for years. Despite Russia's reaction, we can once again say that the military cooperation of the military ships serves only in the region of peace in the region.”
Acting US Ambassador Ross Wilson stressed that these visits are intended to showcase United States' partnership in this region, to bolster security, stability, and peace in the region, and in particular, to show strong support for Georgia and for its independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.