Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Russia planning invasion of Georgia - 2

Vladimir Socor, in EDM:
Russia’s deployment of armor and artillery in recent weeks to Abkhazia compounds its violations of the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE). The Russian military had all along stockpiled such “unaccounted-for treaty-limited equipment” in Abkhazia and is now adding to it. A rebuilt rail line can also help reactivate the Gudauta base with its large storage capacity, where Russia retains a garrison in further breach of the CFE Treaty package.

According to interviews with the de facto Abkhaz leaders in the Russian and Western media (Interfax, AP, May 31), the railroad will be used in part for carrying building materials from Abkhazia to nearby Sochi in Russia, the 2014 Winter Olympics site. In March Russia’s Regional Development Minister Dmitry Kozak announced that Russia would use construction materials and manpower from Abkhazia for the Sochi Olympics projects. In May Russia’s Krasnodar Territory governor Aleksandr Tkachev signed an agreement with Abkhaz authorities on transporting millions of tons of building materials (apparently stone and wood) from Abkhazia to Sochi (Kommersant, June 2). If this is done, the Sochi Olympics will be tainted through close association with Russia’s seizure of territory by force from a neighboring country.

The timing of Russia’s deployment adds insult to the West. The deployment coincided exactly with the May 30-31 trip by fifteen ambassadors of European Union countries from Tbilisi to Sokhumi in an unprecedented peace initiative. It also seems timed to demonstrate Russia’s sense of impunity ahead of EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana’s June 5 visit to Tbilisi and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s June 7 meeting with Medvedev in St. Petersburg.
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