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Russia deploying in Georgia regions
Russia set to permanently station 7,600 troops in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2008 16:41 GMT

Russia says its permanent presence in the two provinces is to prevent a Georgian offensive [AFP] 

Russia has said it will permanently station 7,600 troops in Georgia's two breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

About 3,800 troops will each be based in the two provinces - a far larger presence than before last month's war - Anatoly Serdyukov, Russia's defence minister, said on Tuesday.

Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said that the presence was needed to prevent Georgia from trying to regain control of the two regions, less than a day after agreeing to pull forces back from areas nearby.

He said: "Russian troops will remain on the territory of South Ossetia and Abkhazia on request of their leaders in parliament.

"They will remain there for a long time. Their presence there will be needed at least for the foreseeable future to prevent any relapses of aggressive actions."

The announcement came after Alexander Lomaia, Georgia's security council chief, said Russia had pulled out of a position in the town of Ganmukhuri, outside of Abkhazia - one of 24 positions in Georgia that officials say are still held by Russian forces.

Lomaia said three or four armoured personnel carriers and a few dozen troops remained in Ganmukhuri.

Russia established diplomatic relations with Abkhazia and South Ossetia on Tuesday and Lavrov said he and his counterparts have agreed treaties to strengthen ties.

EU-Russia deal

Sarkozy, left, and Medvedev, say they have revised their agreement [AFP]

 

 

On Monday, Dmitry Medvedev, Russia's president and Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, revised the European Union-brokered deal to end the fighting between Russia and Georgia.

The deal with Sarkozy is expected to lead to the deployment of at least 200 EU monitors in the area surrounding the two breakaway regions by next month.

The agreement obliges Russia to pull out of those regions in 10 days following the deployment of monitors.

Lavrov said the deal - accompanied by EU guarantees that Georgia would not use force against the two provinces - was a victory for Russia.

He said Abkhazia and South Ossetia will be represented at an international conference on security in the region in Geneva next month.

War erupted between Georgia and Russia erupted on August 7 when Georgia launched an attack to regain control over South Ossetia.

Russia sent in troops who quickly routed the Georgian forces and pushed deep into Georgia.

Source:
Agencies
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