Azerbaijan shares gas with Georgia

Jan. 23, 2006 at 6:31 AM
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TBILISI, Georgia, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Georgia, whose supply of natural gas was disrupted by two pipeline explosions in Russia, has begun to receive Russian gas from its neighbor Azerbaijan.

Part of the capital, Tbilisi, has gas again, but many residents are still without gas, the BBC reported Monday.

President Mikhail Saakashvili on Sunday accused Russia of sabotage after two nearly simultaneous explosions in the southern Russian republic of North Ossetia cut off natural gas to Georgia and Armenia.

"They happened at the same time, and basically they didn't affect supplies to Russia proper, so we can conclude that it was a very well-organized and very well-coordinated act," Saakashvili told the BBC.

The Russian Foreign Ministry called his remarks the product of "hysteria and bacchanalia."

Shortly after the gas line explosions, another blast brought down an electricity transmission line in the southern Russian region of Karachayevo-Cherkessiya, also affecting Georgia.

On Monday Russian President Vladimir Putin, at a Cabinet meeting in Moscow, ordered the director of the Federal Security Service, Nikolai Patrushev, to tighten security at energy facilities in the Caucasus region, and asked Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev to help the prosecutor's office with the investigation into Sunday's explosions, Interfax reported.

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