HOME About Blog Contact Hotel Links Donations Registration
NEWS & COMMENTARY 2008 SPEAKERS 2007 2006 2005

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Russian Volunteer Fighters to Defend Breakaway Abkhazia from Georgia


About 20 Russian volunteer fighters have arrived in the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia to lay plans for defending the territory in case of war with Georgian forces, the Russian daily Kommersant said yesterday.

The volunteers arrived on Monday from neighboring provinces of southern Russia in response to an operation by Georgian forces last week aimed at taking control of the Kodori Gorge, which is strategically located between Abkhazia and the rest of the country, the paper said.

The volunteers claimed to have thousands of backers prepared to join them from southern Russia in order to defend their fellow Russian citizens in Abkhazia.

Under Abkhazia’s Russian-backed separatist administration at least 80 percent of the Abkhaz population is thought to have taken Russian citizenship.

“We are prepared to come as soon as tomorrow and it won’t be dozens but thousands of volunteers,” said one of the volunteer leaders, Ruslan Tokov. “In the last war everything was disorganised. This time it will be different,” he said, referring to unrecognized Abkhazia’s 1992-1993 war for independence, in which thousands died.

Russian media reports have suggested that tensions over Abkhazia and another separatist Georgian region, South Ossetia, are close to the boiling point.

Another volunteer leader, Uali Yevgamukov, was quoted by the paper as saying: “We will protect Russian citizens here and the interests of Russia.... I will be the first to pick up an assault rifle.”

Abkhazia won effective independence from Georgia in the1992-1993 war, and Moscow props up the breakaway region by paying pensions, issuing Russian passports and allowing cross-border traffic while acting as the lead “facilitator” in the peace process.

Georgia, home to 200,000 ethnic Georgian refugees who fled the war, has vowed to regain control of Abkhazia.

Recently the tensions between Georgian authorities and Abkhazian separatists went out of control and resulted in several exchanges of gunfire in the Kodori Gorge on the edge of the breakaway province.

Georgian forces were able to quell the rebel militia. Tbilisi claims that the Kodori Gorge region is now under central government control and says that it has partly withdrawn troops from the conflict area.
Web IntelligenceSummit.org
Webmasters: Intelligence, Homeland Security & Counter-Terrorism WebRing
Copyright © IHEC 2008. All rights reserved.       E-mail info@IntelligenceSummit.org