The collapse of the residential building located on 26 May Street in Batumi
As soon as the notification on the collapse of the residential building located on 26 May Street in Batumi was received at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, rescue and police forces were mobilized at the site, as well as ambulance crews.
According to initial reports, the entrance of the residential building collapsed. Upon arrival at the scene, firefighters evacuated the population from the neighboring flats of the collapsed residential building, as well as from vehicles caught in the debris.
At the moment, the area is being cleared of rubble and active search and rescue operations are underway. The Ministry of Internal Affairs has launched an investigation on the fact of building collapse; the information regarding the number of injured persons is being clarified at the moment.
Along with firefighters, special equipment has already been mobilized at the site, including aerial ladder fire truck. In addition, the staff of the Special Tasks Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Forensic-Criminalistics Department have also been mobilized. The additional live force is being deployed from the neighboring regions of Adjara as well.
The territory adjacent to the accident is condoned off due to security measures. The Ministry of Internal Affairs calls on the citizens, as well as the representatives of all media sources on the ground, to follow the instructions of the employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and to observe the safety norms.
Irakli Garibashvili: This visit by American command ships is yet another clear demonstration of the strong strategic relations between Georgia and the US
I welcome our strategic allies and partners visiting Batumi Port, and I welcome American command ships, their crews and personnel, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili stated today in Batumi, aboard USS Mount Whitney.
According to the Head of Government, this port visit by American command ships is yet another clear demonstration of the strong strategic relations between Georgia and the US.
"Georgia is very important country in the Black Sea region. Our geographic location has a profound significance. Georgia is a loyal ally and participant of global security. We understand well the importance of Black Sea security, and we are committed to assisting our allies in this direction. We share the responsibility of cementing regional peace and stability, and we will continue doing everything to that end. Army command compatibility, partnership-oriented drills, and the unity of our forces in times of crisis offer the best way to ensure security in the region. I am happy to see that our friends, during their stay in Batumi, will have an opportunity to familiarize themselves with our country's rich history, culture, and traditions. Along with our guests, I would like to express enormous gratitude to the US Government and the American people, each American, who have stood by Georgia since the regaining of independence. On behalf of our Government and the Georgian people, I once again thank you visiting, and I wish you a successful stay," the Prime Minister addressed the crews and personnel of the American ships.
The guests aboard the USS were also addressed by US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan and Commander of the Sixth Fleet/Vice Admiral Gene Black.
"It is an honor to welcome to Georgia USS Mount Whitney and Arleigh Burke-class destroyer Porter. Many representatives of the crews and personnel of these ships are visiting this beautiful country for the first time, though the ships themselves have been here many times before. We are very proud of their return today. In September of 2008, after Russia's invasion of Georgia, Mount Whitney delivered 17 tons of much-needed humanitarian aid from the USAID, marking the first visit of the ship to the Black Sea water area, and look at Georgia's immense progress since! The history of these glorious ships, and the capabilities and achievements of their crews, are truly impressive. This visit reaffirms that the United States and Georgia, as partners, are committed to the idea of security and defense. Less than a month has passed since the recent visit by the US Defense Secretary, who reminisced about his time together with Georgian troops on battlefield and expressed gratitude to them. Alongside troops from the North Atlantic Alliance's member states and allies, more than 22,000 Georgians have participated in trainings and battles. The crews and personnel of these ships enable the US to carry out integrated aerial, land, and maritime operations with military and humanitarian missions, whenever we are called and whenever we are needed in the world. Your being here also reaffirms the unwavering commitment of the United States to Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Thank you, Mister Prime Minister, Mister Vice Prime Minister, Mister Defense Minister, Mister Chief of Defense Forces, and heads of the border guard and maritime patrol services, for facilitating this visit-and, more importantly, for your strong support of our security and defense partnership," Ambassador Degnan said.
Vice Admiral Gene Black thanked Georgia and Batumi for hosting the US ships and crews.
"Georgia's support makes a direct contribution to maritime security in the Black Sea Region. Our host city has embraced our crews and personnel with genuine warmth and hospitality. I deeply appreciate that. I am also grateful to Georgia's Defense Forces and the Georgian people for supporting US- and NATO-led missions. Georgia is our strategic partner, and our support for the country remains unwavering. The United States remain committed to maintaining close bilateral relations and assisting Georgia in developing its defense capabilities. Your contribution to our joint security effort testifies to the strength of our strategic partnership and to the common maritime interests and values we share. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, during his visit to Georgia last months, stated that ‘Georgia has consistently and resolutely supported the United States in ensuring peace and stability in this region. I am happy to have this opportunity to reaffirm our strong support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity.' The United States Navy-together with the member states and allies of the North Atlantic Alliance, including Georgia-is bolstering maritime security and stability in the Black Sea Region. No single country can deal with all threats on its own, the reason why I, on behalf of the United States of America and the North Atlantic Alliance and the Sixth Fleet, I thank Georgia for this opportunity further strengthening our relations," Vice Admiral Gene Black stated.
Press Service of the Government Administration
USS Mount Whitney and USS Porter Arrive in Batumi, Georgia
By U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa / U.S. Sixth Fleet Public AffairsBATUMI, Georgia – The Blue Ridge-class command and control ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) and Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) arrived in Batumi, Georgia for a scheduled port visit, Nov. 8, 2021.
The port visit highlights an important relationship between NATO allies and vital Black Sea partner Georgia. Georgia has been a consistent and steadfast partner in promoting peace and stability in the region.
Previously, USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) conducted a port visit in Batumi in February 2021. Legend-class Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton (WMSL-753) similarly stopped in Batumi in May 2021, after completing interoperability exercises with the Georgian Coast Guard.
“Georgia plays a critical role in maintaining security and stability in the Black Sea and is a valuable NATO partner,” said Rear Adm. James Morley, Deputy Commander, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO). “We look forward to further enhancing the relationship between NATO and our Georgian counterparts here in Batumi.”
U.S. Sixth Fleet (SIXTHFLT) and STRIKFORNATO personnel are embarked aboard Mount Whitney, operating as an integrated team. The interoperability between the commands, and their presence in the region, demonstrates the U.S. and NATO’s commitment to the Black Sea and to working with allies and partners to advance peace and prosperity in the region.
While in Batumi, the ships’ crews will experience Georgian culture and traditions, while taking in the country’s rich history and interacting with local citizens.
“This is my first ship and first deployment with the Navy and being able to visit Georgia is exciting,” said Cryptological Technician (Technical) 2nd Class Melissa Mitchell, a Sailor assigned to Mount Whitney. “I have always wanted to go to Georgia and experience the culture and cuisine.”
While steaming to Batumi, Mount Whitney and Porter showed the power of joint operations by participating in the U.S. Air Forces Europe-Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA) led Operation Castle Forge. Castle Forge provides a dynamic, partnership-focused training opportunity in the Black Sea and demonstrates the joint force’s combined ability to respond in times of crisis with a flexible, reassuring presence.
Additionally, both ships partook in bilateral ship maneuvering drills, communication testing, and simulated exercises with ships from the Bulgarian Navy and Turkish Navies and were escorted into Batumi by the Georgian Coast Guard. These maneuvers, executed in accordance with international law, highlight the professionalism and skillful seamanship of all nations involved.
USS Mount Whitney, forward deployed to Gaeta, Italy, operates with a combined crew of Sailors and Military Sealift Command civil service mariners in the SIXTHFLT area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa.
STRIKFORNATO, headquartered on Oeiras, Portugal, is Supreme Allied Commander Europe’s (SACEUR) premier, rapidly deployable and flexible, maritime power projection Headquarters, capable of planning and executing full spectrum joint maritime operations, primarily through the integration of U.S. naval and amphibious forces, in order to provide assurance, deterrence, and collective defence for the Alliance.
SIXTHFLT headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.
Vice Admiral Gene Black: Good Afternoon! I’m Vice Admiral Gene Black, Commander of the Sixth Fleet, Commander of Striking and Support Forces NATO. I’m absolutely thrilled to be here on behalf of the U.S. Navy, the Sixth Fleet, and my NATO team for Striking and Support Forces NATO. What an amazingly warm welcome here in Georgia. I’d like to introduce Captain Prochazka, the Captain of my flagship, USS Mount Whitney.
Captain Prochazka: Good Afternoon and thank you for this warm welcome, the amazing ceremony, and the warm reception to your country and this amazing city.
Captain Dan Prochazka: My name is Captain Dan Prochazka, I’m the commanding officer of USS Mount Whitney. The service members and civilian mariners from Mount Whitney are excited to explore the rich culture and history of Georgia to interact with the local civilians and to work with our military partners.
Question about Georgia’s role in the Black Sea region and relationship with the country
Vice Admiral Black: I think the importance of Georgia is clear when you consider that Secretary of Defense Austin recently visited I’m here representing the Sixth Fleet and the U.S Navy and NATO. You are a very important ally and partner in the Black Sea Region and we very much look forward to operating with you and visiting with you. And thank you, again for the wonderful, warm welcome.
SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATION CONTINUES IN BATUMI
Search and rescue operations by the staff of the Ministry of Internal Affairs is in progress at the site of the collapsed residential building in Batumi. Late at night, rescuers found the bodies of 4 people under the rubble.As a result of several hours of intensive search and rescue operation, firefighters rescued 2 injured people from the rubble, who were transferred to the hospital and are being treated accordingly.The Minister of Internal Affairs -Vakhtang Gomelauri, the Deputy Minister- Ioseb Chelidze and the Head of the Emergency Situations Management Service -Temur Mghebrishvili remain at the site of the rescue and search operations in Batumi, to lead the rescue operation.Intensive search-and-rescue operation as well as clear-up activities are still underway at the moment.
CLOSING CEREMONY OF CRISIS MANAGEMENT TRAINING COURSE WAS HELD AT THE ACADEMY OF THE MINISTRY OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS
The US Embassy’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), Regional Security Office (RSO) and Office of the Legal Attache of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) jointly organized a training course on crisis supervision for the senior management of the MIA.Ambassador of the United States to Georgia Kelly Degnan, the first Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Shalva Bedoidze and Deputy Ministers: Aleksandre Darakhvelidze and Giorgi Butkhuzi attended the closing ceremony of the training course. They awarded certificates to the participants.The US Ambassador highlighted the importance of training law enforcement and sharing international experience in crisis management and incident response.The participants of the training course discussed such important issues, as: Principles of crisis management and command centers; Crisis supervision; Interagency cooperation in crisis situations; Historical and practical examples etc.The training course was led by the FBI trainers James Newton and Otham Brown.Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Aleksandre Darakhvelidze expressed his gratitude to the Ambassador of the United States of America for US contribution to the Ministry’s capacity building over the years and close cooperation.
Batumi International Conference to kick off Monday
2021 Batumi International Conference will kick off today in a hybrid format due to the ongoing pandemic.
The main spotlight is on the upgraded level of cooperation between the three EU Associated Partners – Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine – recently formalized as the Associated Trio, the organizers said.
The three Partners are determined to accelerate the reforms envisaged by their respective Association Agreements with the European Union that contain provisions on Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas and prepare the next stage of their European integration.
“The panel will discuss possible interests of the EU to engage further in the enhanced integration process with the three Eastern European partners. Also, deliberate more on the European enthusiasm of the three countries while also reflecting on how the new format will complement the future of the Eastern Partnership,” the statement reads.
Charles Michel and the presidents of Moldova and Ukraine will participate in today’s Conference.