Russia worried about an invasion from Georgia?


Russia accused Georgia yesterday of planning to invade the breakaway republic of Abkhazia and said it was sending more troops to the region.

Russia's foreign ministry said Georgia had amassed more than 1,500 troops in the mountainous Upper Kodori valley - a small but strategic enclave inside the separatist territory but controlled by Georgian forces. It was "possible to conclude that Georgia is preparing a base for a military operation against Abkhazia", the Russian foreign ministry said. Russia was responding by sending more peacekeeping troops to prevent a Georgian attack, it added.

Yesterday's move escalates the crisis between the two ex-Soviet neighbours over Abkhazia. Abkhazia broke away from Georgia following a civil war in 1992-3. Georgia wants the territory back. Russia's president Vladimir Putin recognised Abkhazia and South Ossetia, another breakaway region of Georgia, as legal entities this month - prompting Tbilisi to accuse Russia of "de facto annexation".

Yesterday Georgia denied that it was planning to recapture Abkhazia, where Russia has around 1,000 peacekeeping troops under a 1994 accord. "This information is false. It is aimed at exacerbating tensions in the conflict area," the Georgian interior ministry spokesman, Shota Utiashvili, told Interfax.

He denied Russian defence ministry reports that Georgia had moved heavy artillery into the Kodori gorge and said there were only police posts there. Last week Georgia accused Russia of shooting down an unmanned drone over Abkhazia. Russia denied the claim.


It does not sound like much of an invasion force. Even with the poor state of the former Red Army, I think the Russians could easily overwhelm this Georgian force. It is time for Georgia to write off this territory. It does not appear worth fighting for.


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