“The Black Sea is of great importance both for NATO and Georgia. We must be aware of what we see: the substantial militarization of the Black Sea region by Russia, especially after the illegal annexation of Crimea. We also saw Russia's aggressive actions against the Ukrainian ships near the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait. [In response,] NATO has increased its presence in the Black Sea, and we are working with Georgia to address the security challenges in the Black Sea region,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a joint press conference with Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze in Tbilisi today.
NATO has more warships in the Black Sea region now and conducts the air patrol missions, Stoltenberg noted. In addition, he recalled that three Black Sea countries - Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania – are the Alliance members and have their presence in the Black Sea.
“All these factors contribute to the build-up of NATO’s presence in the Black Sea region. In this context, we welcome the cooperation with Georgia, in particular, the Georgian coast guard. We will see what we can do together for the development of Georgia’s naval capabilities,” the NATO Secretary General noted.
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