Georgia: Russia planning Abkhazia invasion

May 31, 2008 at 1:09 PM
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TBILISI, Georgia, May 31 (UPI) -- Russian officials are planning an invasion of the breakaway region of Abkhazia in Georgia, the Georgian Foreign Ministry alleged Saturday.

Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze accused Russia of preparing a military invasion of the de facto republic by sending Russian Railroad Troops into Abkhazia to repair its railroad infrastructure, RIA Novosti reported.

"There is no need to send troops to rebuild railroads, unless the preparation for military intervention is under way," Vashadze said.

While the Russian Defense Ministry has labeled the railroad mission as an instance of humanitarian aid from Russia, Vashadze dismissed such reports outright.

"We consider this move as another aggressive step against territorial integrity of Georgia," Vashadze said. "There is no doubt that Russia is building up military infrastructure (in Abkhazia) in preparation for military intervention."

RIA Novosti said relations between Russia and Georgia have been strained since then Russian President Vladimir Putin sought enhanced negotiations with the republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in April.

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