Russia missiles a 'concern' for Georgia, NATO: Tbilisi

11th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

Russia's deployment of S-300 air defence missiles in Georgia's rebel region of Abkhazia is of concern not only to Tbilisi but should also worry NATO, a senior Georgian official said Wednesday.

"This should be of concern not only for Georgia but also for other regional actors including NATO," Georgia's deputy prime minister and reintegration minister, Temur Yakobashvili, told AFP.

"This is changing the balance of power in the region," he said.

"It is very obvious that Russia is using these occupied territories as a military platform for larger plans than only Georgia," Yakobashvili said.

Abkhazia, which Moscow recognised as an independent state after the 2008 Georgia-Russia war, is less than 200 kilometres (125 miles) across the Black Sea from NATO member Turkey.

Russia's air force commander, General Alexander Zelin, said Wednesday that Moscow had deployed S-300 missiles in Abkhazia to provide anti-aircraft defence for both Abkhazia and Georgia's other Moscow-backed rebel region, South Ossetia.

© 2010 AFP

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