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Russian Navy Blockades Humanitarian Wheat Shipment to Georgia

The Navy of the Russian Federation today appeared to have taken a further escalatory step in its aggressive war against Georgia. “The Russian Navy is imposing an illegal blockade on Georgia,” said Alexander Lomaia, Secretary of National Security Council of Georgia, late on Saturday. Over the last 48 hours, Russian naval vessels have turned back several ships bound for Georgia with humanitarian supplies.

“Today,” said Lomaia, “the Russian Navy intercepted Lotus I, a Moldovan-flagged merchant vessel carrying wheat.” The ship was turned away, denying the Georgian population an essential food shipment.

This latest Russian move against Georgian civilians comes amidst indiscriminate Russian attacks on non-combatants. Notably, this morning, Russian warplanes struck an apartment block in Gori. Georgian authorities fear that about sixty people may have perished in the rubble. In Poti itself, Russian fighter jets attacked the oil terminal, port facilities and a nearby railroad junction. Several civilians was injured.

“The Russian military appears bent on shooting, burning and now starving innocent civilians,” Lomaia said.

As part of its military assault on its southern neighbor, Russia steamed elements of its Black Sea Fleet from their base at Sevastopol, Ukraine toward Georgian territorial waters. The force includes three amphibious assault vessels, two anti-submarine warfare vessels, a reconnaissance ship, two minesweepers, two missile boats, a missile cruiser and a variety of aircraft.

The Russian warships appear bound for Ochamchire, a former Soviet naval base in the Georgian territory of Abkhazia and for blockade duty off Georgia’s Black Sea coast.

“It is impossible that this anything to do with South Ossetia,” Lomaia remarked. “It is a grab for Abkhazia and a punishment for Georgia’s democratic inclination—naked aggression and wanton disregard for international law!”
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