US destroyer arrives in Georgian port of Batumi with aid

Georgia Materials 24 August 2008 13:58 (UTC +04:00)

The first US naval vessel carrying relief supplies arrived in the Georgian port of Batumi Sunday, the Russian Interfax news agency reported in Moscow on the basis of information from Georgia. ( dpa )

The US destroyer USS McFaul passed the Bosphorus on Friday evening, accompanied by a Polish naval vessel.

Two more US naval vessels are scheduled to pass the straits off Istanbul headed for the Georgian coast in the coming days.

The Russian military has criticized the presence of NATO naval vessels in the Black Sea given the conflict in Georgia.

"NATO is enhancing its military presence on the Black Sea under the pretext of providing humanitarian aid," Deputy Chief of Staff Anatoly Nogovitsyn said Saturday.

"This does not contribute to stability in the region," the colonel general added.

Several other NATO naval vessels passed the straits into the Black Sea on Thursday on their way to a naval exercise off the coasts of NATO members Bulgaria and Romania in the western part of the sea.

According to NATO, the exercise was planned more than a year ago.