Russia dismisses reports of military base in Abkhazia territoryJune 16th, 2008 - 2:57 pm ICT by IANS
Moscow, June 16 (RIA Novosti) Russia has dismissed reports that it had opened a new military base in Georgia’s breakaway province of Abkhazia. “The reports of a military base being established in Abkhazia are a new provocation,” a defence ministry statement said Sunday and decried the reports as unfounded.
Media reports Sunday cited the Abkhazian government in exile as saying that Russia had opened a new military base near the village of Agubedia of Abkhazia’s Ochamchir district and deployed heavy armour there.
Abkhazia broke away from Georgia in the early 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Between 10,000 and 30,000 people were killed in the subsequent hostilities. The two sides signed a ceasefire in 1994 in Moscow.
Peace talks between Abkhazia and Georgia broke off in July 2006 when Tbilisi sent troops into Abkhazia’s Kodori Gorge and established an alternative Abkhaz administration there.
Late in May, around 300 Russian railroad troops arrived in the self-proclaimed republic as part of a Moscow humanitarian assistance initiative for Abkhazia. The deployment met a furious reaction from Georgia, which accused Moscow of preparing for military intervention.
Relations between Russia and its ex-Soviet ally have deteriorated sharply in recent years over Moscow’s support for Abkhazia and South Ossetia, another separatist region in Georgia, and Tbilisi’s drive for NATO membership.