Abkhazia moves against Georgian bases, orders troops to leave

The conflict between Georgia and Russia was was facing further escalation Monday, as Georgia's second separatist region Abkhasia ordered all Georgian soldiers and civilians to leave the upper Kodori Valley area or face an attack, dpa reported.

Georgian positions in the upper valley bordering Russia were surrounded by Abkhazian forces, the leadership of the Russian-backed breakaway republic on the Black Sea said in the regional capital Suchumi, according to the Russian Interfax agency.

Indicating a possible further escalation of the conflict with Georgia, Moscow has moved 9,000 soldiers and 350 military vehicles into Abkhazia in the past few days. The move was intended to support Russian peacekeepers in Abkhazia, Moscow said.

The UN observer mission UNOMIG withdrew its military observers stationed in the area over the weekend.

In the southern Abkhazian border with Georgia, the situation was growing more tense as well, with Tbilisi reporting Russian bomb attacks against Georgian military installations in the region of Zugdidi.

While Abkhazia considers the sparsely populated Kodori Valley part of its territory, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in 2006 set up a Georgian authority in the upper Kodori Valley after a Georgian police action there.

[Source: Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Moscow, 11Aug08]

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The Question of South Ossetia
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