Georgian authorities say Russian warplanes are targeting the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, and have carried out over 50 air-strikes near the conduit. A BP-led consortium operates the pipeline, which transports one million barrels a day from Azerbaijan to the Mediterranean. “They need control of energy routes,” Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said of the Russians. “They need sea ports. They need transportation infrastructure. And primarily, they want to get rid of us.” (The Telegraph, Aug. 11)
BP said they are unaware of any air-strikes targeting the pipeline. “The situation has not changed with regard to our operations since Friday,” BP spokeswoman Tamam Bayatly said by phone from Baku, Azerbaijan. “Our production continues and our exports continue.” (Bloomberg, Aug. 10)
The conflict has also spread to Georgia’s other separatist enclave of Abkhazia. The region’s pro-Moscow separatist leader Sergei Bagapsh said his troops have launched a major “military operation” to force Georgian troops out of the Kodori gorge, which Georgian forces control as a strategic foothold in the breakaway Black Sea territory. Saakashvili accused Russia of having 150 tanks and 10,000 troops in Abkhazia. Georgia also claimed that Russian jets have bombed Tbilisi-controlled “Upper Abkhazia,” and that Georgian government forces had shot one of them down. Russian planes reportedly bombarded Chkhalata—the gorge’s main administrative center, where Georgia has installed an alternative pro-Tbilisi Abkhaz government. (The Guardian, Aug. 10)
See our last posts on Georgia and the regional pipeline wars.