Nato will step up its cooperation with the Georgian coastguard to counter the "increased Russian presence" in the Black Sea, alliance chief Jens Stoltenberg said yesterday.
The move follows Nato's announcement in February that it was stepping up its air and maritime presence in the Black Sea, as part of deterrence measures following the Kremlin's annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Georgia -- a Nato partner but not a full member -- staged a major joint military exercise with the United States in July in a show of defiance to Moscow, which has thousands of troops posted in two disputed Georgian regions.
After a meeting of the Nato-Georgia commission in Brussels, Stoltenberg praised Tbilisi's contribution to the alliance mission in Afghanistan and said they were looking at ways to increase ties.
"We are very very for strengthening the cooperation with the Georgian coastguard... because the Black Sea is of great importance for Georgia but also of course for Nato," Stoltenberg said.
"We have seen increased Russian presence in the Black Sea and see increased Russian military presence in Crimea."
Georgia wants to join Nato and hopes for a positive signal at the alliance's next summit, in Brussels in July next year.
Georgia and Russia fought a short war in August 2008.