Russia’s Foreign Ministry and the unrecognized "foreign ministry" of Abkhazia issued parallel statements yesterday. In them, Georgia was held responsible for recent "terrorist activity" in Abkhaz-controlled territory. Ten Russian soldiers were wounded and two Abkhaz troopers killed in three incidents from April 5-10. Moscow and Sukhumi, tracing the incidents to the elusive Georgian groups "White Legion" and "Forest Brothers," accuse official Tbilisi of supporting these groups’ guerrilla raids. Tbilisi takes the position that the incursions are the work of local Georgians acting on their own.
In Tbilisi, the visiting Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Volodymyr Khandogy stated at a briefing that his country is prepared to send its military observers or peacekeeping troops to the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict theater, if the UN authorizes move. In the same context, Khandogy stated that Kyiv objects to "Russia’s obvious tendency to play a dominant role in the CIS." (Itar-Tass and other Russian agencies, Prime News, April 11-13)
Russian troops operate in Abkhazia under the CIS label. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma last year offered to send Ukrainian military observers there, subject to a UN decision. Such a decision would imply Russian acquiescence. Ukraine, Georgia and Azerbaijan have also recently discussed the creation of it tripartite peacekeeping battalion for which they hope to receive U.S. assistance.
Anti-Iranian Irredentist Group Steps Up Activities in Baku.