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All railroad traffic between Moscow and Sukhumi will be stopped today, December 2
All railroad traffic between Moscow and Sukhumi, the capital of the self-proclaimed Abkhazian republic, will be stopped today, December 2. Railroad traffic between Moscow and Sukhumi will be stopped, starting December 2, 2004, due to heightened republican tensions; the Russian-Abkhazian state border, including its Black Sea sector, will also be guarded more closely, Gennady Bukayev, who serves as aide to the Russian Prime Minister, told reporters December 1 in Sochi. These measures are not spearheaded against the people of Abkhazia; moreover, the Russian side will stop implementing them, in case the situation is stabilized, Bukayev added. At the same time, the Russian-Abkhazian border will be closed, if the situation becomes aggravated still further, Bukayev went on to say. The Russian leadership will have to adopt this difficult decision for the sake of preventing the escalation of violence and to ensure the safety of Russian citizens in the border-line zone, Bukayev stressed. For his own part, Gennady Fadeyev, president of the Russian Railroads company, noted that the decision to stop all railroad traffic along the Moscow-Sukhumi stretch was motivated by serious concerns for the safety of local railroad workers. The situation is very serious because our locomotive-and-conductor brigades are working there, Fadeyev said. Commenting on Moscow's decision to impose restrictions along the Russian-Abkhazian border, prime minister Nodar Khashba of Abkhazia referred to them as an adequate reaction to the current Abkhazian situation. Russia is watching over its own interests, in the first place, Khashba added. Sergei Bagapsh is to be inaugurated as president of Abkhazia in Sukhumi December 6; meanwhile those supporting his main rival, namely, Raul Khadzhimba, continue to contest Bagapsh's victory in the October 3 presidential elections. The incumbent president Vladislav Ardzinba doesn't recognize Bagapsh's victory either, issuing a decree on holding repeat elections. Still it seems that Bagapsh has no misgivings about this; Bagapsh keeps mentioning the latest Abkhazian-parliament resolution, which recognized his victory in the course of presidential elections after the session of the republican council of elders, a traditional nationwide institution
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