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Controversial move by EU countries

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, September 17
Recently the Georgian media has reported, based on Russian sources, that Moscow is negotiating with France and the Netherlands to purchase a modern helicopter carrier. It has also become known that Moscow is planning to use this helicopter carrying warship on the Black Sea. Russian Generals have also confirmed that if necessary this warship could be used against Georgia.

So far Georgian officials have not commented on this. However local military analysts have expressed their concern at some EU countries considered to be Georgia’s friends being ready to sell such a warship to Moscow when it could be used against Georgia.

It is well known that the only country Black Sea country Russia could be thinking of using military force against at present is Georgia. Officially Georgia possesses 309 kilometres of Black Sea coastline, but most of this area is now occupied by Russia. Today Georgia controls only 124 kilometres of coastline. This section includes Poti and Batumi ports and the Supsa oil terminal, facilities important not only for Georgia but the world, as they are links in an international transport chain. Obviously they would be the primary targets of any new Russian aggression.

Admiral Vladimir Visotsky, the Commander-in-Chief of Russian naval forces, has stated that if Russia had had a Mistral type warship during last year’s conflict with Georgia the Black Sea fleet could have accomplished its task in 40 minutes rather than the 26 hours it took. If the Kremlin buys a Mistral-type ship from France and it enters the Black Sea it would be able to land in Georgia within a very short period of time 450 marines and 13 tanks, sufficient force to take control of any civilian object such as its primary targets. Today France has two such warships and is in the process of building a third one.

Georgian military analysts state that Russia currently has 7 this type Russian made warships in the Black Sea. Trying to buy another, higher-capacity one indicates that Russia is planning to carry out offensive operations on the Black Sea coast. Although only Georgia is a target at present the next might be Ukraine.

Military analyst Kakha Katsitadze is asking why the Georgian leadership is silent over this. Why is it not asking the French authorities if they really plan to do this deal,and if so why? It is known that since the 2008 aggression Moscow has started taking very active measures to modernise, reequip and restructure its military forces and using new Western technology to do so. The question should be put as to why Western countries are facilitating and funding Russia’s military build up when it is obvious to them what it is going to be used for.

Russia is doing its best to stop anyone help Georgia modernise its defence system. For instance, Israel recently decided to stop giving military assistance to Georgia after Russia blackmailed it by providing Palestinian terrorists with missiles which can be used against Israel. “Now almost no countries have any sort of military relationship with Georgia, apart from the Czech Republic and Poland,” Katsitadze says. He thinks that by buying arms Russia is killing two birds with one stone, reequipping its armed forces and bribing European countries by buying their expensive equipment at the same time. To do this it is prepared to spend huge amounts. It is not worth the West’s while to pass up such riches for miserable little Georgia.

Georgian analysts also remind us that during the 2008 conflict Russia got hold of Georgia’s very modest naval facilities and destroyed them. Today Georgia does not have the capacity to defend its coast from attack. If the French sell the helicopter carrier to the Russians it will take at least one year to train the crew to handle it, but by the beginning of 2011 they will be ready to use it.

Meanwhile Georgian society shrugs its shoulders, not understanding why an EU country is even considering such an option while Georgia expects it to help this country. But if we want to understand why this is happening we also need to ask why the Georgian administration is not making a public response to this fact.