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Europe

EU Warns Russia on Plans to Increase Georgia Troops

The European Union has warned Russia against boosting its military presence in the breakaway Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russia plans to deploy additional troops and set up military bases there.

Russian and European Union flags

Russia's military plans were met with a stiff EU warning

"The EU would consider the implementation of such plans to be a serious violation of the principle of Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity, to which the EU is strongly committed," the Czech presidency of the EU said in a statement issued on behalf of the bloc's 27 member states.

Russia has announced plans to deploy some 3,800 soldiers in each of the two rebel regions and establish military bases there. Late last month, Russia's Interfax news agency quoted Abkhaz leader Sergei Bagapsh saying that there was an agreement for a Russian naval base on the Abkhaz coast.

Russian soldiers leave an army vehicle to set up their positions at the Inguri Dam in the Georgian breakaway province of Abkhazia, Friday Aug. 15, 2008

Russia took heat for invading Georgia in August

Russia received international condemnation from both the EU and NATO in August when it tightened its grip on the two separatist regions during a war. A ceasefire was brokered by the EU, with the agreement that Russia could keep some troops in the two regions. EU observers were deployed to Georgia proper.

Russia must keep its end of the bargain

"Any military buildup in Abkhazia and South Ossetia would be in contradiction with the spirit of the August and September 2008 ceasefire agreements and jeopardize stability and security in the region by further increasing tensions," the EU presidency said in its statement. Furthermore, the EU expects Russia to act "in a responsible manner and to continue to implement all its commitments."

On Wednesday, Feb. 5, NATO spokesman James Appathurai had also expressed concern at Russian plans to build a naval base in the Black Sea port of Ochamchira.

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