01:42 GMT17 May 2021
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    The USS Laboon is on a three-day visit to the Georgian city of Batumi to take part in the joint drills with the local coast guard as part of the US declared commitment to provide security to its allies located close to Russia, which Moscow lawfully perceives as a blatant military buildup on its borders.

    A high-ranking delegation, including Georgia's Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli and US Ambassador to Georgia Richard Norland, welcomed the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer hailing from the United States Navy's 6th Fleet as it docked in Batumi on Saturday.

    The Laboon's visit is also aimed at enhancing "Georgia's deterrent capabilities, professionalism and capability of its armed forces," Norland said in a statement, without detailing the exact threats the country might be facing.

    In July, Georgia will host the multilateral Agile Spirit 2015 exercise focused on peacekeeping and support operations.

    In August, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is set to come to Georgia to open a new training center.

    Earlier, Khidasheli called Georgia "one of the most interoperable, reliable and devoted partners of NATO."

    The United States and NATO used the civil war in Ukraine as a pretext to step up their military presence along the bloc's southern and eastern borders, engaging in an increasing number of war-games. As many as 280 exercises, involving NATO members and allied countries, were scheduled for 2015.

    The alliance has described the deployment of troops and military hardware to the Russian neighborhood, as well as the military drills as "proportionate" and "defensive" activities, which pose no threat to any country, including Russia.

    Moscow has repeatedly voiced legitimate concern over the US and NATO's saber-rattling, warning it could undermine European stability and security.

    NATO exercises and deployments near Russia since 2014
    © Sputnik
    NATO exercises and deployments near Russia since 2014


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    saber-rattling, military drills, USS Laboon, Tina Khidasheli, Batumi, Russia, Georgia, US
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