Russia-Georgia close to war, Tbilisi to blame: Russian envoy

By RIA Novosti,

Brussels : Russia has accused Georgia of escalating tension along the Caucasian country’s border with breakaway Abkhazia republic and warned that Tbilisi would be responsible if war with Moscow breaks out.

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Russian envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin Tuesday said Georgia was planning to march its special forces trained by NATO instructors into Abkhazia, adding that it could lead to “serious bloodshed”.

“Georgia is really extremely close to a war, but Georgia is itself to blame for this,” Rogozin said.

He was commenting on a statement by Georgian reintegration minister Timur Yakobashvili Tuesday at the European Parliament that Georgia was “very close” to a war with Russia.

He said Tbilisi was conspiring with foreign “sponsors” to blame Russia for the current tensions in Georgia’s breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Russia was trying to prevent this ‘bloodshed’, he said.

Abkhazia, along with South Ossetia, broke away from Georgia in the early 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Between 10,000 and 30,000 people were killed in the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict and some 3,000 in Georgian-South Ossetian hostilities.

Georgia is looking to regain control over the two de facto independent republics. Russia’s outgoing President Vladimir Putin ordered the government April 16 to draw up measures to support both Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The move infuriated Georgia, which accused Russia of trying to annex the breakaway regions. Later, Tbilisi accused Russia of downing a reconnaissance drone – a claim Russia has flatly denied.

Russia, which has administered a peacekeeping contingent in Abkhazia and South Ossetia since the 1990s, dispatched additional troops to Abkhazia recently to deter what it calls a planned Georgian military offensive.

Tbilisi accuses Russian troops of siding with separatists.