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Page last updated at 10:36 GMT, Friday, 5 September 2008 11:36 UK

US delivers aid to Georgian port

USS Mount Whitney at Poti
The USS Mount Whitney has a cargo of humanitarian aid

A US Navy warship carrying humanitarian aid has arrived in the Georgian port of Poti, where Russian troops are still deployed.

The USS Mount Whitney is the third US ship to deliver aid to Georgia since its conflict with Russia last month, but the first to dock at Poti.

Poti was bombed by Russian forces when they entered Georgia, and several ships in the port were sunk.

Russian said such a large warship was not suited delivering aid.

The USS Mount Whitney, flagship of the US Sixth Fleet, is the latest of three vessels sent by the US to deliver blankets, hygiene kits, baby food and other supplies to Georgia after its brief war with Russia.

"I can confirm it has arrived in Poti. Anchoring procedures are still ongoing but it has arrived," said a US naval official quoted by the AFP news agency.

Russian checkpoints

Following the conflict, Moscow withdrew most of its forces, but thousands of Russian troops remain on Georgian soil in what Moscow says is a peacekeeping role.

Russian forces are still deployed at checkpoints around the port of Poti.

Two previous deliveries of US aid to Georgia were taken to the Georgian port of Batumi, south of Russian-patrolled areas.

Russia on Friday questioned the sending of such a sophisticated US warship to Georgia.

Moscow said it might contravene international conventions and was hardly suited to delivering humanitarian aid.

In the past, Moscow has warned that humanitarian aid shipments could be used to camouflage Western naval build-up in the Black Sea.




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