NATO ships exercising with the Georgian Coast Guard in the Black Sea

The Black Sea is a bridge that connects two
continents and the gateway between Europe and the Middle East. It is strategically important
and hotly contested. “In order to see how important it is, just
look at the map. You can see the Black Sea is bordered by Allies, by partners and the
Black Sea is connected to the Mediterranean, which is connected to the wider ocean and
waterways.” This is a NATO countermines group arriving
at the port town of Batumi in Georgia. For Lieutenant Badri Shengelia and his crew
in the Georgian Coast Guard, who are exercising with the group, it’s a chance to demonstrate
the work they do on a daily basis. “We are protecting our waters from the illegal
activities, so it is really important for me to feel my place and to be a part of it.” As well as dealing with problems like illegal
fishing and human trafficking, the Georgian Coast Guard is part of an international effort
to provide security in areas such as counter-terrorism, search and rescue and mine clearance. But
Badri and his crew have another issue to contend with. “One of the challenges that Georgian Coast
Guard is facing is the maritime space bordering the occupied Abkhazia and where Georgia is
not eligible to conduct its law enforcement activities.” Russia’s occupation of the Abkhazia territory
in Georgia as well as Crimea in Ukraine and its expansion of its Black Sea Fleet has had
a big effect on the security situation in the region. “Because Russia occupied Crimea, the military
balance in the Black Sea absolutely changed, and now Black Sea countries need additional
and different kind of format for Black Sea security.” “What has not changed, and actually even
stronger than before is NATO relevance and NATO commitment to our Allies and our partners
in the Black Sea.” For NATO, having a strong presence in the
Black Sea acts as a deterrent as well as reinforces partnerships. But while this exercise is temporary,
for Badri and his crew, protecting the Black Sea is an ongoing challenge. This is Jake Tupman from Batumi, Georgia for

One thought on “NATO ships exercising with the Georgian Coast Guard in the Black Sea

  1. NATO membership support is at 80% in Georgia. Georgia is ready to join and it deserves a fast-track membership. We've been ignored for 10 years even though we were reforming. It's not against Russia but for our own security in Georgia and on the entire European continent.

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