Russia Pulls Out Railway Forces from Abkhazia
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 30 Jul.'08 / 16:20

A ceremony marking the end of repair work on Abkhaz rail infrastructure by Russian Defense Ministry Railway Forces was held at a railway station in Dranda, outside Sokhumi, on July 30.
The Russian MoD’s Railway Forces, which were deployed in the breakaway region in late May, have repaired a 54-kilometer section of railway between the capital Sokhumi and Ochamchire, including eight railway bridges.

Some Railway Forces units have already been withdrawn from the region and the remainder are due to leave after the ceremony.

Interfax news agency quoted Guram Gubaz, chief of the Abkhaz railway, as saying that he hoped the Russian Railway Forces would return to Abkhazia to assist in repairing the section of rail between Sokhumi and Psou, on the Russian border.

“Talks on this issue are underway at [Russian and Abkhaz] government level,” he added.

Georgia has strongly condemned the deployment of the Railway Forces to Abkhazia. Tbilisi said that Russia was preparing infrastructure in Abkhazia for possible military aggression.

Russia, however, said the move was part of Moscow’s “humanitarian assistance” to the breakaway region and would withdraw them as soon as the repairs had been completed.

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