Putin visits Georgian rebel region: AFP

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Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin Thursday made an unannounced visit to the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia to attend the funeral of its leader Sergei Bagapsh, an AFP reporter said.

Putin joined other mourners at the funeral and expressed his condolences to Bagasph's daughter and wife, the correspondent said.

Russia recognised Abkhazia and fellow Georgian rebel region South Ossetia as independent after the 2008 war between Moscow and Tbilisi, a move that has been followed by only a handful of other far-flung states.

Putin last visited Abkhazia in August 2009, promising Russia's military backing for Abkhazia in any new conflict with Georgia in a visit that sparked Western condemnation.

© 2011 AFP

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