EU 'Concerned' over S-300 Missiles in Abkhazia
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 13 Aug.'10 / 18:30

EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said she was "concerned" about Russia's announcement that it had deployed S-300 air-defense system in Abkhazia "without the consent of the government of Georgia."

"The deployment of such a weapon system in Abkhazia would be in contradiction with the six-point ceasefire agreement as well as implementing measures [agreement signed on September 8, 2008] and would risk further increasing tensions in the region," she said in a statement on August 13.

"I call on Russia to fully implement all its obligations under the ceasefire agreement. The EU reiterates its firm support for the security and stability of Georgia, based on full respect for the principles of independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, recognised by international law."

Commander of Russian Air Forces announced about deployment of S-300 in Abkhazia on August 11. On the same day the U.S. Department of State said Russia had this system in Abkhazia for already two years. On August 13 Russian news agency, Interfax, reported quoting unnamed Kremlin source that Russia deployed S-300 in Abkhazia two years ago and the only development now was that its location within Abkhazia was slightly changed.

Brussels-based EUobserver.com reported on August 12, that Russia's announcement of August 11 came as a surprise for EU. The announcement was made on the day, when Ashton spoke on the phone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. "He [Lavrov] said nothing on the subject. Within an hour or so later, we got the news [about S-300 deployment]," EUobserver,com reported quoting an unnamed source in the EU institutions.

Ashton, apparently referring to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's recent brief visit to breakaway Abkhazia, said in the statement that "official visits to the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia should be made in full respect of Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity."

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