US missile cruiser docks in Batumi

USS Vella Gulf, the US guided missile cruiser. Photo by US Embassy in Tbilisi., 18 Aug 2014 - 11:23, Tbilisi,Georgia

An American military ship is visiting Batumi this week to reaffirm the United States’ support for Georgia and the wider region.

The Norfolk-based guided missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf will make a port visit in Batumi on August 18-20.

The vessel was deployed in a multi-mission role in the US 6th Fleet area of operations, which involved contributing to regional maritime security, conducting bilateral and multilateral training missions and to support NATO operations and deployments throughout the region.

"The Vella Gulf’s visit reaffirms the United States’ commitment to strengthening ties with NATO allies and partners like Georgia, while working toward mutual goals of promoting peace and stability in the Black Sea region,” the US embassy in Tbilisi said in a press release.

The USS Vella Gulf (CG 72), a Ticonderoga-class will conduct routine combined training exercises with the Georgian Coastguard, provide ship tours and host a reception for local officials.

The US embassy believed the Vella Gulf's Batumi Port visit would build on previous US Navy visits to Georgia, which enhanced professional and personal relationships between the US and its allies and regional partners.

The US Navy routinely operated ships in the Black Sea, consistent with the Montreux Convention and International Law. The ship entered the Black Sea on August 6. The vessel previously made a trip to the Black Sea in May as tensions rose in the region following Russia’s actions in Ukraine.