Russian border guard killed in Abkhazia: report

8th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russia said Friday that one of its border guards had been killed in Georgia's breakaway Abkhazia region in an attack it blamed on Georgian police.

The incident occurred in the Moscow-backed region, which was recognised as an independent state by the Kremlin following Russia's five-day war with Georgia in the summer of 2008.

The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) said its border guard was killed by a member of the Georgian interior ministry's anti-terror committee.

Two Georgian policemen were also killed in the gun battle, news agencies quoted a local FSB spokesman as saying.

But Georgia denied this, saying that that the men who were killed were not policemen but criminals who were wanted by the authorities in Tbilisi.

The incident proved that Abkhazia had become a "criminal black hole" where lawlessness is rife because of the Russian "occupation regime", the Georgian foreign ministry said in a statement.

Georgia and some of its leading Western allies describe Abkhazia as "occupied" by Russian forces, which are stationed there and patrol the disputed borderline.

Tbilisi insists that Abkhazia is an integral part of its territory but Moscow has recognised it and another rebel province, South Ossetia, as independent states -- a move only followed by Nicaragua, Venezuela and the tiny Pacific island state of Nauru.

Abkhaz separatists waged a civil war with Georgian forces in the 1990s after the break-up of the Soviet Union that killed several thousand people and left some 250,000, mostly ethnic Georgians, as refugees.

© 2011 AFP

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