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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia fully staffs bases in Abkhazia, S.Ossetia

RIA Novosti

19/11/2008 15:36 MOSCOW, November 19 (RIA Novosti) - Russian military bases in Georgia's disputed republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia have been fully staffed with 3,700 personnel each, the chief of the Russian General Staff said on Wednesday.

Russia's Defense Ministry earlier said it plans to open one base in Gudauta, in the west of Abkhazia, and another in Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, following a five-day war with Georgia over South Ossetia in August.

"The bases are being prepared for deployment and already have full contingents of 3,700 personnel each," General of the Army Nikolai Makarov told a news conference in Moscow.

He added that bases in Dzhaba and Tskhinvali in South Ossetia, and Gudauta in Abkhazia, would be fully operational by the end of 2010.

Makarov also said that the Russian troops, deployed at the bases, would be patrolling the entire territory of the two disputed republics, including the Kodori Gorge in Abkhazia.

Georgia attacked South Ossetia on August 7-8 in an attempt to regain control over the republic, which, along with Abkhazia, split from Georgia in the early 1990s. In response Russia launched a military operation to repel Georgia's troops from the region, which concluded on August 12, ending up deep in Georgian territory.

In accordance with a French-brokered peace deal, Russia withdrew its forces from Georgian buffer zones ahead of an October 10 deadline. The peacekeepers were replaced by a 200-strong EU monitoring mission to Georgia.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on November 14 that Russia had fully implemented the terms of the so called Medvedev-Sarkozy ceasefire plan that ended the conflict.

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