Russia demands UN mission probe into Kodori Gorge incident

Other News Materials 22 September 2007 00:08 (UTC +04:00)

( RIA Novosti ) - Russia's Foreign Ministry demanded Friday a UN investigation into Thursday's incident in the Kodori Gorge in which two Abkhazian soldiers were killed, the ministry's press service said Friday.

According to the ministry, a Georgian special forces unit crossed the border into Abkhazia and attacked servicemen at a military base belonging to the anti-terrorist center of the Abkhazian Interior Ministry.

"We are closely following the development of the situation and demand that the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG), along with the command of the CIS Collective Peacekeeping Forces in the zone of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict and representatives of the conflicting sides, immediately conduct an objective and unbiased investigation into the incident," the ministry said in a statement.

The Abkhazian Defense Ministry earlier said two soldiers were killed, at least four wounded and several servicemen abducted as a result of the Georgian raid.

However, Georgia claims that a raiding party from Abkhazia attacked Georgian guards protecting a road being built in the Kodori Gorge, which lies in upper Abkhazia on the de facto border between Georgia and the breakaway republic.

Georgia's Rustavi-2 TV reported Friday that the six Abkhazian saboteurs detained in the incident had admitted that they had planned to blow up a road in the gorge.

There have been frequent and mutual accusations of ceasefire violations from both Abkhazia and Georgia, whose President Mikheil Saakashvili has vowed to regain control of the region. Peace talks broke off when Tbilisi sent troops into Kodori Gorge in July and established an alternative Abkhaz administration there.

Georgia's self-proclaimed republic Abkhazia declared independence from Georgia following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, sparking a bloody conflict in the region.

Russia mediated ceasefire agreements between the sides, and Russian peacekeepers have been deployed in the conflict zone ever since.