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Tbilisi Condemns Russian Railway Troops’ Activities in Abkhazia
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 24 Aug.'15 / 23:51

The Georgian Foreign Ministry has condemned deployment of the Russian railway troops in breakaway Abkhazia as “yet another aggressive and provocative action” and “strongly” demanded to “immediately stop illegal activities on Georgia’s occupied territory.”

Russian Deputy Defense Minister General Dmitry Bulgakov said on August 22 that 500 railway troops were deployed in Abkhazia in the end of July for “restoration of railway connection within” Abkhazia.

Works are underway on a 33 km long railway section between Ochamchire, seaside town southeast of Sokhumi, and Enguri river on the administrative boundary line with rest of Georgia, which has been defunct since 1992-1993 armed conflict in Abkhazia.

According to Gen. Bulgakov, troops have already cleared up to 9 km long sanction from various vegetation and removed 1.5 km long dilapidated railway track.
 
“All the works are underway solely for the interests of the civilian population,” Gen. Bulgakov said.

He said that the railway troops will return back to their bases upon completion of works, expected for December.

A 54 km long section of railway between Sokhumi and Ochamchire was repaired by the Russian railway troops in May-July, 2008.

In its statement on August 24, the Georgian Foreign Ministry recalled Russian railway troops’ deployment in Abkhazia ahead of the August, 2008 war, which, it said, “was effectively used for transportation of army units and equipment during the military” hostilities.

The Georgian Foreign Ministry called on Russia to fulfill its obligations undertaken under the August, 2008 ceasefire agreement and to “de-occupy Georgian territories.”

It has also called on the international community to “assess appropriately Russia’s illegal policies against Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and not to allow Russia’s one more aggression against Georgia.”

Works on Ochamchire-Enguri railway section has triggered speculation in Tbilisi that Russia might be paving the way for restoration of the Georgian-Russian railway link via Abkhazia. Restoration of the Ochamchire-Enguri rail link without reconnecting it with rest of the Georgian railway network would be economically unviable. But the Georgian officials have strongly denied discussing reopening of the railway link between the two countries via Abkhazia with the Russian side.

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