Russia Makes Move on Abkhazia
Emboldened by the lack of international response to its invasion of Georgia to take South Ossetia, Russia has began Phase 2: the taking of Abkhazia.
Swarms of Russian jets launched new raids on Georgian territory Monday and Georgia faced the threat of a second front of fighting as Russia demanded that Georgia disarm troops near the breakaway province of Abkhazia.
While a senior Russian general insisted that Russia has no plans to press further into Georgian territory — its troops are now in two breakaway provinces — the order to disarm carried the threat that Russian-sponsored fighting would spread.
The new air forays into Georgia — even as Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili on signed a cease-fire pledge — appeared to show Russian determination to subdue the small, U.S.-backed country, which has been pressing for NATO membership. Russia fended off a wave of international calls to observe Georgia’s pleas for a truce, saying it must first be assured of Georgia’s retreat from South Ossetia.
This was perhaps inevitable. Experts have been worried about this eventuality since the West backed Kosovo’s independence declaration. Frankly, from the Russia perspective, it’s hard to blame them for taking advantage of their momentum and the demonstrated weakness of Georgia and its Western backing.
Image: Map showing the latest situation in Georgia. Dozens of Russian warplanes staged new raids in Georgia which in turn pounded the Russian-controlled capital of breakaway South Ossetia, the two sides said, as European leaders intensified efforts to head off all-out war. (AFP Graphic) via YahooNews.