TBILISI, DFWatch – The Georgian president says Russia stopped its attack in August 2008 after the United States started deploying forces to assist the small country.
Mikheil Saakashvili was speaking to students at the U.S. Naval Academy February 3, a speech that was carried live on government-friendly TV channels in Georgia.
“We will never forget that in 2008 we were besieged by an enemy, which was far bigger, far more numerous, far better armed and extremely aggressive. That was the moment when the very existence of my country as is freedom validated in the mortal danger, an existential peril. And we will never forget that that was a moment when on command of the U.S. President and commander-in-chief the U.S. navy started to move toward Georgia. The Sixth Fleet’s ships went towards our sea shores. We had a military-humanitarian operation underway, we had American planes landing on the tarmac of our international airports and just when these orders were issued, we did view the assault on our capital, our government and our people was halted,” Saakashvili claimed in his speech, and remarked that generations won’t forget the US support in Georgia.
It is unclear what exactly Mr Saakashvili meant by the statement. The American flag ship in the Mediterranean, USS Mount Whitney, landed in Poti with humanitarian supplies, but that was weeks after the war was over, on September 5, 2008. Mount Whitney was the first U.S. navy ship to arrive in Georgia after the war.
The U.S. had about a hundred Marines and other soldiers in Georgia before the war broke out, which were here to train Georgian soldiers before deployment in Iraq. Germany, France and Israel also had trainers in Georgia at the time.
A documentary on a small Georgian TV station called Maestro claimed in 2010 that President Saakashvili called a relative during the war saying that U.S. military were deploying via an air base in Turkey, which would prevent a further Russian advance.
There are currently 4,400 students at the U.S. Naval Academy, which educates officers for service in the Navy and in the Marine Corps. 30 of them are foreigners. While meeting the four Georgian students, Saakashvili said he is proud to have Georgians studying at one of the elite U.S. military academies, and that he intends to increase the number of Georgians in such institutions.