Putin: Will Defend Abkhazia From Georgia

SUKHUMI, Russia

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin Wednesday visited Abkhazia, promising to build a military base at its border with Georgia. The Times of London reported Putin chose to travel to Sukhumi, Abkhazia’s capital, on the first anniversary of the cease-fire ending Russia’s war with Georgia.

Putin promised nearly $500 million for the military base.

“Russia is going to deploy its armed forces in Abkhazia and take the necessary efforts to build a modern border guard system in co-operation with the relevant Abkhazian authorities,” he said. “All these factors are serious guarantees of the security of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.”

Russia acknowledged Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Georgia’s other breakaway region, as independent states following the August 2008 war. The United States and the European Union both condemned the action.

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