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Fearing Tbilisi ‘Provocation,’ Bzhania Puts Military on High Readiness

Leader of occupied Abkhazia, Aslan Bzhania ordered today to place the units of Abkhaz armed forces, security service, and law enforcement on high combat readiness, in order to prevent potential “provocations” from Tbilisi, according to a statement released by Bzhania’s press service.

The move comes as Russia refuses to draw back its forces massed in and around Ukraine.

But the Abkhaz leader has instead blamed Ukraine for the “sharp escalation of tensions” and accused Kyiv of refusing “to resolve the conflict within the framework of the negotiation process.

The Kremlin-backed leader has also maintained that Abkhaz leadership is in “constant contact” with authorities in the Moscow-backed self-proclaimed entities Donetsk and Luhansk and pledged military and humanitarian support to them, “if necessary.”

Bzhania today further instructed the ‘minister of emergency situations’ Lev Kvitsinia to prepare for welcoming and accomodating evacuees from Russian-occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Data on the number of Abkhaz troops is not publicly available, but several Russian media reports indicate that Sokhumi maintains around 2,100-2,200 active servicemen.

As per the 2015 deal between Sokhumi and Moscow, Abkhazia also maintains a “combined group of forces” consisting of local and Russian troops, led by Russia’s 7th military base in the region.

Bzhania’s order for high readiness comes after the leader of the Russian-occupied Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, Anatoly Bibilov ordered to assess combat readiness of weaponry, equipment and “defense ministry” personnel last week.

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NB: this article has been updated for the ease of reading and clarity. Last update at 20:30.


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