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Saakashvili Accuses Russia of Gas Pipeline Sabotage


Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has accused Russia of deliberately damaging key gas and electric lines that service the former Soviet republic.

President Saakashvili said in a televised address Sunday that Moscow's explanation of sabotage is "inadequate and contradictory."

He spoke hours after two explosions cut off natural gas supplies to Georgia, and another blast damaged a high-voltage power line. Russian officials say a criminal investigation is underway into the blasts.

Mr. Saakashvili also called Moscow an "unprincipled blackmailer" for recently doubling the price it charges Georgia for natural gas. He said Russian politicians threatened to cut off Georgia's heat and electricity, and now such utilities have been cut during the coldest winter in decades.

A spokesman for Russia's natural gas giant, Gazprom, says gas supplies to Georgia will be restored as soon as possible.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, Reuters .

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