Poti seaport ceases operations temporarily
By M. Alkhazashvili Translated by Diana Dundua
Wednesday, August 13Poti seaport has temporarily closed as a result of attacks by Russian warplanes. The seaport will reopen as soon as there is no danger of further Russian attacks.
According to Poti seaport Director-General Alan Middleton, civilians in the area were killed by Russian shelling. Ships that were due to enter the port were sent back to their ports of origin. The naval facility at Poti also suffered huge financial loss. Although naval staff had already been evacuated, its assets were rendered useless. Middleton added that, of course, all this would have a negative effect on economic calculations and investment.
“The port is not a state military asset, it is a commercial entity. We will sue Russia in the international court,” Middleton told the Akhali Taoba newspaper. At a special parliamentary session on August 9, United National Movement MP Akaki Bobokhidze urged the government to ask the Western powers, especially the US, NATO and Turkey, to establish international control over the Georgian seaports and to deter further Russian attacks, reported the same newspaper.
If Poti seaport is closed for a long time, it is not only the Georgian economy which will be gravely damaged. Key transits between Russia and Armenia, and other states, are also effected through this port. Although Russia seems to think it will soon defeat Georgia and then swiftly reinstate transport links with its strategic partners in the South Caucasus, Russia may also become a victim of its own actions.