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US warship anchors off Georgia with aid

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US warship anchors off Georgia with aid

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An American warship has arrived off the coast of Georgia, loaded with humanitarian aid for the people of the former Soviet republic.

The guided-missile destroyer USS McFaul dropped anchor just outside Georgia’s main port of Batumi.

On board bottled water, hygiene kits, blankets and baby-food for the scores of thousands of people displaced by the confrontation that erupted between Georgia and Russia over the breakaway region of South Ossetia.

It is a powerful gesture of support for Georgia in its conflict with its giant neighbour.

Just 80 kilometres away from the McFaul lies the oil-port of Poti, where Russian soldiers have been digging in for days, despite a Russian pull-out from much of the rest of Georgia.

Georgian residents are furious. Russian Defence Staff say their troops will continue to patrol Poti even though it is outside a buffer-zone where Moscow plans to station peacekeepers indefinitely.

Elsewhere, a few kilometres west of Gori, on a vital route for oil exports to Europe, a fuel train exploded near an abandoned military base.

Georgian officials claim the train hit a landmine, though that has not been independently verified.