Russia: July 10, 2002

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Georgian authorities refused the Abkhazian and Russian General Staff proposal to place permanent peacekeeping posts in the upper ranges of Abkhazia's Kodori gorge. Georgian Minister Malkhaz Kakabadze told Interfax-Military News Agency on 8 July that there were no Georgian army units in the gorge, so the speculation that Georgia was deploying a bridgehead in the Kodori gorge to attack Abkhazia was groundless. Abkhazia claims there are over 900 armed Georgian citizens in the Kodori gorge, but this is currently impossible to prove. 

Meanwhile, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze ruled out the use of foreign troops in the Pankisi gorge and Georgia will independently restore order there, adding that Russian deployment of military units into the region without Georgia's sanction would be considered an act of aggression. Russian and Georgian special services report that 600 to 800 Chechen rebels and foreign mercenaries were hiding in the gorge. - Adam Geibel

In the Far East, for the second time in the last two days, a Russian army deserter was arrested while trying to cross the border into China. The soldier had been drafter a year ago. Abuse of new recruits continues to cause low morale and desertion.


 

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