Russia warns Georgia against provocationApril 29th, 2008 - 7:59 pm ICT by admin
Moscow, April 29 (RIA Novosti) Russia Tuesday warned Georgia that violence against Russians in Georgia’s two breakaway provinces would invite “appropriate and tough” reaction and said it would mobilise more troops to its border with the Caucasian country. “Any attempts by Georgia to use force to resolve the conflicts, or to employ violent measures against Russian peacekeepers or Russian citizens living in Abkhazia and South Ossetia will encounter an appropriate and tough response,” a foreign ministry statement said.
Georgia is amassing troops, weaponry, ammunition, food and material supplies in the upper Kodori region on the border with Abkhazia in preparation of military action against Abkhazia, the statement said.
“The number of troops and police exceeds 1,500… The composition of the contingent indicates that Georgia is preparing to launch a military operation against Abkhazia,” the ministry said.
It said Georgian stand has forced Russia to increase peacekeeping forces in the conflict zones.
Abkhazia and South Ossetia broke away from Georgia in 1991 following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Georgia is looking to regain control over the two republics.
President Vladimir Putin called earlier this month for closer ties with the breakaway provinces. Putin’s statement provoked an angry response from Tbilisi, which accused Russia of attempting to annex the two republics.
Georgia also claims that on April 20 a Russian MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter from the Gudauta military base in Abkhazia, where Russian peacekeepers have been stationed since the end of a bloody conflict in the early 1990s, shot down a Georgian drone, a claim Russia has denied.
The incidents have seen relations between Moscow and Tbilisi plunge to a new low.
The two breakaway regions have stepped up their drive for self-rule since Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia on Feb 17.
Abkhazia and South Ossetia, along with Moldova’s Transdnestr, have all asked Russia’s parliament, the UN, and other organizations to recognize their independence.