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Abkhaz Leader Orders Forces to Retaliate Against Georgian 'Provocations'


The leader of Georgia's pro-Russian breakaway Abkhazia region has ordered Abkhazian military forces to retaliate against what he calls all "provocations" from the Georgian side.

The warning Sunday from Abkhaz separatist leader Sergei Bagapsh is the latest volley in a war of words pitting Abkhazia and another pro-Russian separatist region, South Ossetia, against the Georgian government.

It comes one day after a Georgian district governor and a villager were killed by mortar fire that the Tbilisi government says came from the Abkhaz side of the boundary separating the territory from the rest of Georgia.

Tensions have been high in Abkhazia and South Ossetia since Russian forces swept into Georgia in August after Georgian troops tried to regain control of South Ossetia by force.

Moscow, over strong Western protests, later recognized both territories as independent states.

The United States and the European Union called the Russian incursion a disproportionate response.

Russian soldiers withdrew from most of Georgia earlier this month, but remain in the breakaway regions.

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



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