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Russian news & information agency "RIA Novosti"
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Georgia demands withdrawal of 'illegal' Russian troops from Abkhazia

22:01 | 21/ 05/ 2008

TBILISI, May 21 (RIA Novosti) - Georgia's Foreign Ministry has sent a protest note to the CIS secretariat demanding so called illegal Russian troops and armaments be withdrawn from the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict zone.

The ministry said that according to the UN, an airborne battalion, 50 BMD-2 airborne combat vehicles, two artillery batteries, each with five D-30 howitzers, have been deployed in Abkhazia. The ministry said this was out of line with a 1995 resolution of the CIS presidents' council.

"The Georgian side demands from the CIS executive committee that illegal Russian armed forces disguised as CIS Joint Peacekeeping Forces in the conflict zone be immediately withdrawn," the ministry said.

Abkhazia is one of Georgia's two breakaway de facto independent republics, along with South Ossetia, that broke away from Georgia following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Russian peacekeepers have been deployed in the Abkhazia and South Ossetia since the 1990s. Moscow recently bolstered the number of its peacekeepers in Abkhazia in response to a Georgian troop build up, but said the increase was still within previously agreed limits.

Relations between Moscow and Tbilisi have drastically deteriorated since Russia's former president Vladimir Putin called for closer ties between Moscow and the two breakaway republics in mid-April.

Georgia has accused Russia of trying to annex Abkhazia and South Ossetia, while Moscow says Tbilisi is planning to invade Abkhazia.

The CIS, or Commonwealth of Independent States, is a loose association of former Soviet republics.

other articles
16:18 28/05/2008 Two Russian peacekeepers injured in Abkhazia's conflict zone
17:13 26/05/2008 Georgia says UN report shows Russia guilty of aggression
14:59 26/05/2008 Russia's Medvedev calls for better relations with Georgia
21:20 23/05/2008 Russia to rotate peacekeepers in Abkhazia by June 2
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Российские миротворцы в Абхазии.
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