Russia sends extra troops to Georgian rebel region

2 May 2008 | 04:05 | FOCUS News Agency

Moscow. Russia said on Thursday an extra contingent of its troops had begun arriving in Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia, a move Tbilisi said was an illegal act of military aggression, Reuters reported.

Russia announced this week it was deploying hundreds of additional peacekeeping troops to the tiny sliver of land of the Black Sea to counter what it said were Georgian plans for an attack on Moscow-backed separatists in the region.

Georgia summoned Russia’s ambassador to protest against the deployment and said it had raised tensions in the region, where separatists fought a war against Georgian forces in the 1990s.

Russia’s defense ministry said the contingent would remain within the 3,000 limit allowed under a United Nations-brokered ceasefire agreement signed in 1994.

Russian state television broadcast footage of a column of Russian army trucks and armored vehicles driving through Sukhumi, Abkhazia’s main city.
“The contingent is completing the concentration of units in their deployment locations,” Russia’s RIA news agency quoted the defense ministry as saying in a statement.

“The Russian peacekeepers have begun equipping arms stores, vehicle parks and field kitchens. Operations are under way to guard the deployment points and fit out command points and communications systems.”

Diplomats have said Russia is sending about 1,200 extra troops to the region, though officials in Moscow have not given a figure for the scale of the re-enforcement.


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