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Security enhanced for Russian railway troops in Abkhazia

21:57 18/06/2008
MOSCOW, June 18 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has enhanced the security of its railway troops in Georgia's breakaway republic of Abkhazia following two blasts at a railroad platform in the suburbs of the republic's capital, Sukhumi, a military official said on Wednesday.

"Our troops were not hurt in the explosions," he said. "The security of our railway troops has been tightened."

The first blast occurred at 17:35 local time (13:35 GMT), the second following seven minutes later.

An investigation has been launched. Abkhazian police suspect the incident could have been a terrorist attack aimed at Russian railroad troops.

Moscow announced the deployment of around 300 unarmed railroad troops in the self-proclaimed republic on May 31 to repair railroad tracks. The deployment met a furious reaction from Georgia, which accused Moscow of preparing for military intervention.

The Russian Defense Ministry said last week an attempt to carry out a terrorist act on June 13 along a section of the Tamysh-Ochamchira track was aimed against railroad troops in Abkhazia.

Relations between Russia and Georgia have been strained in recent months ever since Russia stepped up support for Abkhazia and South Ossetia, another breakaway Georgian republic. Tbilisi has accused the Kremlin of plans to annex the territories. Georgia's bid to join NATO has also been a cause of tension.

Abkhazia broke away from Georgia in the early 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Between 10,000 and 30,000 people were killed in the subsequent hostilities. The two sides signed a ceasefire in 1994 in Moscow.

Peace talks between Abkhazia and Georgia broke off in July 2006 when Tbilisi sent troops into Abkhazia's Kodori Gorge and established an alternative Abkhaz administration there.

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RIA NovostiSecurity enhanced for Russian railway troops in Abkhazia

21:57 18/06/2008 Russia has enhanced the security of its railway troops in Georgia's breakaway republic of Abkhazia following two blasts at a railroad platform in the suburbs of the republic's capital, Sukhumi, a military official said on Wednesday. >>

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