Radio Free Europe

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.

https://www.rferl.org/

U.S. Defense Chief Arrives In Georgia In First Leg Visit To Black Sea Allies

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arrived in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, for the first leg of a three-nation visit to the Black Sea region to show allies and partner states support in the face of "Russian aggression."

Austin landed in the Caucasus nation early on October 18 for the first visit to the country by a Pentagon chief since 2014.

Austin will also travel to Ukraine and Romania before heading to the NATO Defense Ministerial in Brussels on October 21-22.

"We are reassuring and reinforcing the sovereignty of countries that are on the front lines of Russian aggression," the Defense Department’s news agency cited a senior official as saying on October 17.

The visit will be a welcome event among the Georgian leadership, which has long sought to become a full member of NATO. It is currently a NATO partner state.

Russia and Georgia fought a brief war in 2008 and Russian troops have remained in Georgia's regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Moscow opposes any effort to increase Georgia’s status within NATO.

In July, joint military exercises involving about 4,000 troops from 15 allied and partner countries, including the United States, took place in Georgia.

The multinational Agile Spirit exercises were led jointly by the Georgian Defense Forces and the U.S. Army Europe and Africa.

U.S. officials have in the past spoken positively about Georgia's potential for NATO membership.

U.S. officials said Austin will meet with Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Defense Minister Juansher Burchuladze to express appreciation for Georgia's contribution to the Western effort in the two-decade war in Afghanistan.

Some 20,000 Georgian soldiers served as part of a U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan from 2004 to 2021, with the Caucasus nation reporting 32 deaths among its troops.

The U.S. Defense Department said in a statement prior to Austin's departure that he would meet with Georgian leaders "to reaffirm support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and underscore the importance of the U.S.-Georgia strategic partnership in addressing regional and global security challenges. The leaders will also discuss bilateral security cooperation and encourage greater regional cooperation in the Black Sea."

With reporting by AFP and RFE/RL’s Georgian Service

Related news
Violence Accompanies Serbian Environmental Protests.

Violence Accompanies Serbian Environmental Protests.

A group of men threw stones at protesters against new environment-related legislation in the Serbian city of Novi Sad on December 4. Scuffles between the attackers and the protesters followed, and some protesters attacked the local office of the M...

Radio Free Europe

Belarus Alleges Border Violation By Ukrainian Military Helicopter.

Belarus Alleges Border Violation By Ukrainian Military Helicopter.

Belarus's border authority has alleged, without producing evidence, that a Ukrainian military helicopter flew up to a kilometer into Belarusian territory, underscoring increasingly tense bilateral relations as Minsk and its ally Moscow test Wester...

Radio Free Europe

Axel Witsel: Borussia Dortmund's elder statesman

Axel Witsel: Borussia Dortmund's elder statesman

Throughout his career, Axel Witsel has played with some of the world’s best footballers, including Erling Braut Haaland. The Belgian is one of Dortmund's elder statesmen and is using his experience to push the club to the next level. #CNN #News

'The Five' react to Alec Baldwin's strange interview with ABC.

'The Five' react to Alec Baldwin's strange interview with ABC.

'The Five' panel discusses Baldwin deflecting blame for cinematographer's death #FoxNews #TheFive Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassing news service deli...

1 510

Travel Uncertainty Returns with Omicron Variant

Travel Uncertainty Returns with Omicron Variant

New restrictions affecting millions around the world spark controversy  Originally published at -

Delta vs. Omicron: CDC Director Discusses Coronavirus Variants

Delta vs. Omicron: CDC Director Discusses Coronavirus Variants

In an interview with Lester Holt, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky says the agency is carefully watching new omicron cases in the U.S., while a majority of new Covid cases are from the delta variant. Walensky warns travelers to get their booster...

FACT CHECK: Misleading Claims About the Omicron Variant and Vaccines.

FACT CHECK: Misleading Claims About the Omicron Variant and Vaccines.

On November 28, popular U.S. vlogger Kim Iversen claimed that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are global superspreaders of the new omicron variant. “I can’t believe that after fully vaccinated travelers have been found to be the g...

Parents of Accused Michigan High School Shooter Charged.

Parents of Accused Michigan High School Shooter Charged.

The parents of the Oxford High School shooting suspect were charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the deadly attack. Authorities say they provided the weapon their son used to kill four students.» Subscribe to NBC...