The Financial Times publishes an article on Black Sea security issues based on an interview with Georgian Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani.
Talking to the author, the Foreign Minister emphasized the strategic importance of the Black Sea region and said it was very important to reduce the military and political influence of the Russian Federation.
The FT believes, by this statement, Zalkaliani accentuated Western powers’ urgent involvement in this process to increase military investment to fight against Russia.
Author claims that Georgian Minister’s “feedback spotlights the rising battle for an energy-rich commerce route that counts two EU members on its shores and hyperlinks Europe to Asia and the Mediterranean finish of the Center East.”
Moreover, the FT touches upon the cyberattack carried out by Russia’s GRU intelligence agency.
As the article says, before news of the cyberattack emerged, Davit Zalkaliani said that Russia continues to set up an up-to-date anti-ballistic missile system and the radar in the occupied territories of Georgia. For that, in Zalkaliani’s words, “Georgia needs more attention and more engagement from EU and Nato partners.”
The Financial Times wrote that “Russia significantly upgraded its Black Sea fleet, prompting NATO to increase its sea patrols in the area. Moscow has also raised its presence in the Mediterranean through support for Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship in Syria and its intervention in Libya on the side of Khalifa Haftar, the military strongman aiming to topple the government in Tripoli”.
According to the author, the Georgian minister “called for more investment by the EU - whose members Bulgaria and Romania have Black Sea coasts - in areas such as undersea electricity and fibre optic cables, and ferry boats to link to Georgian ports.
“It can be one of the effective ways to shorten the route between Europe and Asia,” he said, in a nod to the EU’s strategy to build Eurasian trade routes. “Georgia at the same time is a gateway to eight landlocked countries of central Asia.” Zalkaliani admitted Tbilisi was “concerned” by tensions between the US and Turkey over Syria and Ankara’s purchases of a Russian missile system. Turkish officials have insisted that the defence purchase will not be affected by growing strains with Moscow over the conflict in the opposition-held Syrian province of Idlib.
The minister said Georgia was “carefully watching” the relationship between Moscow and Ankara, but insisted Turkey was still solidly behind Georgia’s ambitions to join NATO and reclaim the territory seized from it by Russia in 2008.