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U.S. Military Aircraft, Ships Continue Georgian Missions

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 2, 2008 – U.S. military aircraft and ships continue to bring humanitarian supplies to Georgia, defense officials said today.

The humanitarian need still exists in the former Soviet republic, and the United States will continue sending help “as long as it’s needed,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.

Russian troops continue to be in violation of the cease-fire agreement signed in August, Whitman said. “There has been some progress, but they remain in violation,” he said.

So far, 62 air sorties have flown humanitarian aid to Georgia, and two ships – the USS McFaul and U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Dallas – have delivered 1,138 short tons of supplies to the country. The McFaul and Dallas have finished their missions to Georgia, and the USS Mount Whitney will deliver humanitarian supplies in the next few days, Whitman said.

He called Russian charges that the deliveries contained weapons “false, untrue, unfounded, accusations without merit.” All of the supplies delivered to Georgia have been to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in the country that the Russian invasion caused, he emphasized.

About 100 American servicemembers and DoD civilians are in Georgia coordinating the missions, officials said, working closely with U.S. embassy personnel and the Georgian government to prioritize the needs.

The flights and ships are delivering cots, tents, humanitarian daily rations, comfort packs, medical supplies and other humanitarian goods.

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