The recognition of Abkhazia by Russia would amount to declaration of war against Georgia and “we will accept this challenge,” an influential lawmaker Givi Targamadze, who chairs the parliament’s defense and security committee, said on November 13.Remarks were made in a response to the Georgian authorities’ reports that Russia has deployed additional armament and troops in Abkhazia in recent days. Meanwhile, Matthew Bryza, the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, said that his government had already raised these reports with the Russian authorities.
“People and political forces should properly assess this threat,” MP Targamadze told lawmakers at the parliamentary bureau session. “Abkhazia’s recognition by Russia will automatically mean declaration of war against Georgia. This is exactly how Georgia should perceive this step by Russia. Russia itself understands it very well and that is why it brings additional forces to Abkhazia. It is very important for each of us to properly understand it.”
The Georgian government has claimed that five T-72 battle tanks; five GRAD-type multiple rocket launchers; five armored vehicles and seven howitzers, as well as at least 200 more soldiers, mainly ethnic Chechens, were deployed in Ochamchire.
Speaking at a news conference in Tbilisi on November 13, Matthew Bryza said that there was “no way to confirm or deny those reports.”
But he also added: “We have immediately raised these reports with the Russian government to make clear that we are watching and to make clear that we expect our Russian colleagues to abide their commitment to Georgia’s territorial integrity.”
Bryza, however, also said that he would be “shocked, based on our conversations with Moscow in last few days, if there was truly something planned to destabilize Georgia.”
“That is something that would sharply contradict to Russia’s status as facilitato,” he added.
He also condemned some statements “issued from other countries” – obviously referring to Russian officials – calling for recognition of Abkhazia as “reckless, dangerous and unnecessary.”
Yuri Luzhkov, the mayor of Moscow, has recently called for recognition of Abkhazia’s independence.