Georgia: Abkhaz separatists seize villages

Georgia’s Foreign Ministry said Aug. 16 that Russian-backed separatists in Abkhazia have seized 13 villages in Georgia and the Inguri hydropower plant. Russian army units and separatist forces shifted the border of breakaway Abkhazia toward the Inguri River, setting up a temporary administration in the seized villages. The power plant and most of the villages are in a buffer zone established by the 1994 UN-brokered ceasefire. The buffer zone stretches from Abkhazia’s Gali region and Georgia’s Zugdidi region, including a narrow strip between Abkhaz territory and the Inguri. Abkhazia’s de facto president Sergei Bagapsh acknowledged the Abkhaz move into the buffer zone would violate the ceasefire terms, but asserted that Georgia was the first to break the truce. (AP, Aug. 16)

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