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Russia will open military bases in two Georgian breakaway republics, Abkhazia
Russia will open military bases in two Georgian breakaway republics, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, in 2009, a source in the Russian Defense Ministry said Friday.

The source said the ministry plans to open one base in Gudauta, in the west of Abkhazia, and another in Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia.

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. Russia then launched a military operation to "force Georgia to peace," which concluded on August 12, with Russian forces 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 an EU monitoring mission to Georgia.

Under the same agreement Russia is due to withdraw the majority of its troops currently deployed in Abkhazia, leaving about 4,000 military personnel at the former Soviet base in Gudauta.

Russian General Staff chief Gen. Nikolai Makarov told journalists in Moscow in October that in line with friendship and assistance treaties, concluded with South Ossetia and Abkhazia, each base will deploy some 3,700 service personnel.


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