Russian troop increase in Georgia risks instability: US

May 1st, 2008 - 12:13 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, May 1 (DPA) Russia plans to increase its peacekeeping contingency in Georgia’s breakaway provinces risk, destabilising the region, the US State Department said. Moscow Tuesday announced the buildup to counter what it said were Georgian moves to expand its military presence along its borders with South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

But the US has not seen any similar increases by Georgian forces, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Wednesday.

“Some of these Russia actions, in terms of troop buildups along the border, certainly risk destabilising the region,” McCormack said. “We would ask Russia to reconsider some of the steps that they have taken recently.”

Tension between Georgia and Russia has risen in recent weeks over the former Soviet republic’s separatist South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions. Russia has said it would step up diplomatic ties to South Ossetia and Abkhazia in what Georgia said amounted to plans to annex the two regions.

Russia has had peacekeeping troops in the regions since civil wars ended in early 1990s, and South Ossetia and Abkhazia have since governed autonomously.

Moscow has expressed misgivings about NATO plans to eventually invite Georgia and Ukraine to join the alliance, and has warned that Kosovo’s independence from Serbia in February could serve as a precedent for the territories in Georgia.

“There is an unshakable commitment on the part of the US to Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty over all of Georgia’s territory,” McCormack said.

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