Russia to start patrolling Abkhazia's sea border
MOSCOW, December 9 (RIA Novosti) - Russian patrol boats will begin guarding the maritime border of the former Georgian republic of Abkhazia in December, the Russian Federal Security Service said on Wednesday.
"These patrol boats will guard the state borders and sea areas that fall under the sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction of the republic of Abkhazia, and will also ensure that shipping rights... are protected," the statement said.
The Sobol and Mangust-class boats, belonging to the FSB border service, will operate in line with a Russian-Abkhaz agreement on border security.
The statement said the boats will be based in the Abkhaz Black Sea port of Ochamchira.
The head of the FSB's coast guard department, Col. Gen. Viktor Trufanov, has said the patrol boats will seize Georgian ships if they illegally enter Abkhaz waters.
More than 1,000 Russian border guards already serve in the former Georgian republic.
The 19-meter Project 12150 Mangust patrol boat, with a maximum speed of 53 Kts, is equipped with a 14.7-mm machine gun. The 28-meter long Project 12200 Sobol patrol boat is equipped with a machine gun and a gun mount, and has a maximum speed of 50 Kts.
Russia recognized the independence of Abkhazia and another former Georgian republic, South Ossetia, last August after a five-day war with Georgia over the latter, which was attacked by Tbilisi in an attempt to bring it back under central control.
Under mutual assistance treaties signed last November, Russia pledged to help South Ossetia and Abkhazia protect their borders, and the signatories granted each other the right to set up military bases in their respective territories.
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