The Georgian Coast Guard of MIA Border Police is hosting Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO (SNMG2) in the territorial waters of Georgia. SNMG2 includes: CRISTOBAL COLON - FLAGSHIP (Spain), REGINA MARIA (Romania), KEMALREIS (Turkey) and SMELI (Bulgaria). The Maritime Group is led by Rear Admiral Manuel Aguirre Alderegua, Commander of NATO’s SNMG2.
The port call aims to enhance interoperability between Georgia, NATO and the Alliance’s partner nations’ naval forces.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, this port visit is a visible demonstration of NATO’s continued commitment to Georgia. It is important that NATO port visits to Georgia's Black Sea ports are regular, which is one of the tangible results of NATO-Georgia cooperation in strengthening Black Sea security.
The visit is being held in full compliance with the recommendations of the Georgia’s National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). The meetings are to be held through VTC and combined exercises will only include ship manoeuvres without crew interactions in order to prevent the possible spread of the new coronavirus.
Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO will leave the territorial waters of Georgia on March 18, after the completion of a joint training with the GCG.
BLACK SEA — The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) transited into the Black Sea in support of NATO Allies and partners, Nov. 23, 2020.
This is the seventh time a U.S. Navy ship has visited the Black Sea since the beginning of 2020. The last ship to visit the region was USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) in September. While in the Black Sea, Donald Cook will conduct routine maritime security operations that support regional stability.
“Operating in the Black Sea signifies our commitment to partners and allies in the region,” said Cmdr. Kelley Jones, commanding officer of Donald Cook. “It is an important diplomatic mission, and Donald Cook has enjoyed the hospitality of Black Sea countries many times before.”
The Black Sea is a critical waterway for maritime commerce and stability throughout Europe. The U.S. Navy routinely operates in the Black Sea to work with our NATO Allies and partners, including Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Turkey, and Ukraine. It is in the world’s best interest to maintain a stable, prosperous Black Sea region and deter aggressive actors who seek destabilization for their own gain.
Donald Cook recently began its 11th patrol of the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of responsibility in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa. The U.S. Navy routinely operates in the Black Sea consistent with international law, including the Montreux Convention.
The ship’s operations in the Black Sea strengthens interoperability among NATO allies and partners and demonstrate collective resolve to Black Sea security under Operation Atlantic Resolve.
Four U.S. Navy destroyers, including Donald Cook, are based in Rota, Spain, and assigned to Commander, Task Force 65 in support of NATO’s Integrated Air Missile Defense architecture. These Forward-Deployed Naval Forces-Europe ships have the flexibility to operate throughout the waters of Europe and Africa, from the Cape of Good Hope to the Arctic Circle, demonstrating their mastery of the maritime domain.
U.S. Sixth Fleet, 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.
From September 7 through September 18 multinational exercise Noble Partner 2020 will be held at the Vaziani military baseWednesday, 26 August 2020 14:20
From September 7 through September 18 multinational exercise Noble Partner 2020 will be held at the Vaziani military aerodrome, the Vaziani drill ground and the Norio training area. Noble Partner 2020 will be officially opened at IV Mechanized Brigade, Vaziani on September 7. Prior to the official opening ceremony of NP20, an airborne operation will occur at VTA on September 1 by the 173rd Airborne Brigade (US) using C-130 Hercules aircraft.
Noble Partner is a cooperatively-led multinational training exercise in its fifth iteration which is aimed to enhance Georgian, U.S. and partner forces readiness and interoperability, as well as to contribute in maintaining stable and secure environment over the Black Sea region. That’s why the main message of the Noble Partner is - “Strength through Partnership”.
This year totally more than 2700 military servicemen from Georgia, USA, the UK, Poland and France will participate in multinational training. Together with the armored and combat vehicles, as well as artillery systems being in the armament of the Georgian Defense Forces, U.S. air support and armored vehicles will be engaged in the training.
The scenario of the combined multinational exercise includes command, staff and field training with live fire, engagement of maneuver and combat support elements in stability, defensive and offensive operations.
Three (3) media days are scheduled within Noble Partner 2020:
September 1 – 173rd Airborne Brigade’s airborne operation.
September 7 - Official opening ceremony of the exercise;
September 18 – DV Day/Closing ceremony
Media representatives interested in covering the above-mentioned events should apply for accreditation at the Ministry of Defense of Georgia starting from August 26 and ending on August 28 at 18:00 local time. Separate accreditation cards will be issued before each event.
- Visa became the official sponsor of the Black see Jazz Festival
- Consumers paying with their Visa cards issued by TBC bank will get discounts at the Black sea Jazz Festival
Tbilisi, 21 August 2020 – Visa today announced that it will be sponsoring theBlack sea Jazz Festival, one of the most visited and popular music event in Georgia. The event, taking place in Batumi over three days from 21-23 August, will host thousands music lovers enjoying live performances from artists including headliners: Giorgi Mikadze, Nino Katamadze, Luka Topuria’s trio, Stephane, Young Georgian Lolitaz and MokuMoku.
To make the music experience even more enjoyable for the festival-goers, Visa and its partners TBC Bank and Eastern Promotions are offering some additional perks to all cardholders of Visa cards issued by TBC bank, including 10% cashback while purchasing tickets and 10% discount on spot in the bar.
“Visa is a partner of numerous major global and national projects, including the Olympic Games and FIFA™ World Cups," said Cristina Doros, country manager for the Caucasus region, Visa, CISSEE. “Regional and local sponsorship is also our focus, and we are proud of our successful partnership with music festivals in Ukraine, Georgia, Belarus and Serbia. Music brings people together and talks to everyone with universal language of melody, rhythm and emotion. For us as a global brand, partnering with Black Sea Jazz Festival is an opportunity to contribute to the cultural heritage of Georgia, interact with our business partners and Visa cardholders at an emotional level, and encourage cashless payments via explicit demonstration of their advantages for the consumers.”
“We are pleased to host 14th Black Sea Jazz Festival, despite difficult times, and we are honored to have such a reliable partner as Visa. In these times, it was crucial to support Georgian artists and not to break our annual tradition of hosting festival, which everyone is awaiting year after year. This year music lovers will enjoy the program specially prepared by the Georgian artists for this festival,” – noted the representatives of Eastern Promotions.
About Visa Inc.
Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network - enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of connected commerce on any device, and a driving force behind the dream of a cashless future for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information, visit www.corporate.visa.com, www.visasoutheasteurope.com, https://www.facebook.com/VisaGeorgiaGE, www.visanewscissee.com
Batumi docking of the U.S. navy vessel underlines importance of the Black Sea for Euro- Atlantic security, and promotes regional peace and stability - Zalkaliani
Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani comments on the Batumi docking of USS Porter, a United States Navy destroyer.
„Welcome the USS Porter back to the Black Sea port of Batumi for its third visit, which showcases dynamic security cooperation, underlines importance of the Black Sea for Euro- Atlantic security, and promotes regional peace and stability“ – writes David Zalkaliani on his official twitter.
USS Porter, a United States Navy destroyer, is on its third visit to Georgia's Black Sea port city Batumi, the latest visit of the ship follows moorings in the harbour last year and in 2015.
United States Ship (USS) Porter (DDG 78) arrived in Batumi for a scheduled port visit on June 23, as part of the United States’ continued Black Sea presence and support for our regional partners.
The visit serves to highlight the continued cooperation between the U.S. and Georgia by promoting regional peace and stability. This is the ship’s third visit to Georgia. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, personnel will not disembark the ship while in port.
USS Porter is an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer of the United States Navy. The ship is capable of conducting exercises and operations in areas such as anti-submarine warfare and ballistic missile defense.
The U.S. Navy routinely operates ships in the Black Sea consistent with the Montreux Convention and International Law.
USS Porter, commanded by CDR Craig Trent, is forward-deployed at Naval Station Rota, Spain. The ship is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe.
U.S. 6th Fleet, 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.
Statement on the development of the Black Sea-Caspian Sea International Transport Route signed in Bucharest
Bucharest hosted the joint meeting of the foreign ministers of Georgia, Romania, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan where Bucharest Statement on the development of Black Sea-Caspian Freight Transport Corridor was signed.
The Foreign Ministers of the four countries reaffirmed their political will with respect to the development of new transport corridors in the region.
Signing the Statement, the Ministers highlighted the importance of this transit route in connecting the east and the west. According to them, connecting Central Asia with Europe via the two seas is the shortest and the most cost-effective route out of available transport networks.
Special note was taken of the fact that Romania, as a member of the EU is involved in the development of the new route that will lead to the European Union’s further active participation in transport routes. Romania is the current EU Presidency. According to the Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu, the new route will take up a prominent place in the EU-Central Asia Co-operation Strategy that will be approved in summer 2019.
A quadrilateral expert working group will be established to conduct negotiations and collaborate all technical aspects, to optimize operational procedures and to facilitate work on harmonization of tariffs and simplification of customs procedures.
The sides emphasized the achieved progress in development of sea infrastructure, including the upgrading of the Poti Port and the development of the Anaklia Deep Sea Port.
The Georgian side emphasized that the strengthening of Georgia as the region’s logistical hub is one of the Government’s priorities. Various projects are implemented in this regard, including the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway, the East-West Highway Development Project, Lapis Lazuli Transport Corridor, Anaklia Deep Sea Port, Persian Gulf – Black Sea Transportation Corridor, Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, etc.
Black Sea-Caspian Sea International Transport Route was launched in Ashkhabad, on 24 and 25 October 2018.
By The Associated Press: Two Ukrainian navy artillery boats and a tugboat were transiting from Odessa on the Black Sea to Mariupol in the Sea of Azov.
MOSCOW — The Ukrainian navy said Sunday that Russia’s coast guard opened fire on and seized three Ukrainian vessels and wounded two crew members in the Black Sea following a tense standoff off the coast of the Crimean Peninsula.
Ukraine's navy said that two of its vessels were struck and that Russian coast guard crews boarded them and a tugboat and seized them. The Russian Federal Security Service, known as the FSB and which is in charge of the coast guard, said that it has evidence that Ukraine was responsible for the clashes.
"There is irrefutable evidence that Kiev prepared and orchestrated provocations ... in the Black Sea," the FSB said in a statement. "These materials will soon be made public."
There have been growing tensions between Ukraine and Russia, which annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and has steadily worked to increase its zone of control around the peninsula.
Earlier Sunday, Russia and Ukraine traded accusations over another incident involving the same three vessels, prompting Moscow to block passage through the Kerch Strait.
The Ukrainian vessels apparently wanted to travel through the strait to other ports in Ukraine, and Ukrainian authorities said they had given advance notice to the Russians.
The tensions began Sunday morning. Russia's coast guard said that the three Ukrainian vessels made an unauthorized crossing through Russian territorial waters, while Ukraine alleged that one of its boats was rammed by a Russian coast guard vessel.
The Kerch Strait is a narrow body of water nestled between Crimea and the Russian mainland.
The incident began after the Ukrainian navy claimed a Russian coast guard vessel rammed one of its tugboats, which was traveling with two Ukrainian navy artillery boats from Odessa on the Black Sea to Mariupol in the Sea of Azov, via the Kerch Strait.
"Russian coast guard vessels ... carried out openly aggressive actions against Ukrainian navy ships," the Ukrainian navy statement said. It said a Russian coast guard ship damaged the tugboat's engine, hull, side railing and a lifeboat.
The statement added that Russia had been informed in advance about the planned journey.
Russia then blocked off the strait.
The Kerch Strait is the only passage into the Sea of Azov beyond it. The strait is crossed by the recently completed Kerch Bridge, connecting Crimea to Russia. Transit under the bridge has been blocked by a tanker ship, and dozens of cargo ships awaiting passage are stuck.
Russia has not given any indication of how long it will keep the strait blocked off, but a long-term closure to civilian traffic would amount to an economic blockade of Ukrainian cities on the Azov coast. And Russia's Black Sea Fleet greatly outmatches the Ukrainian navy.
Ukrainian cities on the Sea of Azov include strategically vital centers such as Mariupol — the closest government-controlled city to Donetsk and Luhansk, the breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine controlled by Russia-backed separatists.
The FSB told Russian news agencies Sunday after the first incident that the Ukrainian ships held their course and violated Russian territorial waters. The FSB accused the Ukrainian navy of staging a provocation against Russia.
"Their goal is clear," an FSB statement said — "to create a conflict situation in the region." The statement didn't mention ramming a Ukrainian tugboat.
Though a 2003 treaty designates the Kerch Strait and Sea of Azov as shared territorial waters, Russia has been asserting greater control over the passage since 2015.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said in an earlier statement that Russia's actions were a violation of the U.N. Charter and international law, and pledged to "promptly inform our partners about Russia's aggressive actions."
"Such actions pose a threat to the security of all states in the Black Sea region," the statement said, "and therefore require a clear response from the international community."
Dmitry Kiselyov, a commentator on the state-controlled Rossiya channel, told viewers of his Sunday evening news program that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko — encouraged by the U.S. — is looking to pick a fight with Russia in the Black Sea.
The talk show host also said that the U.S. talked Poroshenko into staging a provocation against Russia as a means to disrupt the upcoming meeting between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump at this week's Group of 20 summit in Argentina.
"What is happening now at the (Kerch) bridge threatens to turn into a very unpleasant story," Kiselyov warned.
-- The Associated Press
The authorization board has unlawfully denied the IBSU the right of receiving new contingent of students for one year period
The authorization board has unlawfully denied the International Black Sea University the right of receiving new contingent of students for one year period.
Starting from 2018, the authorization process begun with new standards applied in higher educational institutions operating in Georgia. On April 24-27, the International Black Sea University hosted an expert group headed by Professor Andy Gibbs, an international expert in education from the United Kingdom. As a result of the study analysis and factual circumstances, a team of experts prepared a conclusion according to which the University meets authorization standards: out of seven standards (19 sub-standards) none have been evaluated negatively.
By the decision of the Authorization Board of Higher Educational Institutions of 20 August 2018, the International Black Sea University was granted authorization for 6 years; At the same time, the Board has made a totally illogical and incompatible decision that contradicts the experts’ conclusion; it ignores the positive conclusion of experts and the University is forced to stop accepting the new contingent of students until August 20, 2019. As a result, up to 800 students' choices to study at the International Black Sea University have been ignored, the Board has compelled them to apply to other higher educational institutions. The decision constitutes a threat to students’ legal preferences during two academic years.
The argument for the decision made by the Authorization Board is that the International Black Sea University was imposed a tax penalty in 2013 (the amount of the fine at the current moment is 700 000 GEL and the judicial dispute is still in process). Due to the fine, the property of the university has been sequestered. The university is ready to pay a tax penalty in case of loosing a court dispute. It should be emphasized, that according to the decision of June 4, 2018 of the Revenue Service (# 025-152), sequestration of the university’s property was abolished. The document was submitted to the Authorization Board, however, the Board did not take the mentioned factual circumstance into a consideration.
The Board’s position is groundless and unfair due to the following reasons: Firstly, real estate and other assets of the International Black Sea University greatly exceeds 700,000 GEL; secondly, the decision made by the Authorization Board reduces the revenue of the university up to 2 million GEL only this year (which normally would have been used for various educational purposes). The question is whether or not limiting the university's income is an adequate measure when the Board (unreasonably) considers the material instability to be university’s main problem?
Besides, according to the authorization experts’ report, the university's material and financial resources are in full accordance with the requirements. It is clear, that the Authorization Board ignores a qualified assessment of its local and foreign experts.
The irresponsible decision of the authorization board hinders the development of one of the leading and internationally recognized universities in Georgia which has 23 years of successful academic experience, is known for its graduates' high employment rates and cooperates with more than 60 international universities. Up to 2000 international and local students are currently studying in the university, it employs 400 qualified staff members.
We apply to NGOs and international organizations, diplomatic corps and the whole civil society to support the International Black Sea University in its fight against injustice.
We refer to the Government of Georgia to take appropriate measures in order to prevent the damaging of the country’s international reputation, democratic values, freedom of entrepreneurial activity and to protect the educational sphere from unhealthy influences.
Administration of International Black Sea University
US military equipment which was sent from Port of Constanța, Romania to participate in the multinational exercise “Noble Partner 2018” has already shipped to Georgia. US armored vehicles “Stryker”, armored vehicles “Bradley”, M1A2 Abrams tanks and other military equipment have already downloaded in Poti Port, Georgia. The part of the equipment will be transferred to Vaziani by lorry, part of it – itself by marching.
US military equipment were loaded in Port of Constanța, Romania and launched for Georgia via the Black Sea on July 22.
Military personnel of II Cavalry Regiment have already arrived to Tbilisi International Airport via air. The part of US soldiers will arrive to Georgia up to July 31 stage by stage.
The multinational exercise will officially be opened in Vaziani military airfield on August 1. “Noble Partner 2018” is a Georgian Armed Forces and US Army Europe led exercise, which intends to enhance participating nations’ readiness and interoperability.