Russia Plans Fleet Base in Georgia

Going to be an interesting year again here in the Caucasus.

Russia will start building a naval base this year in Georgia’s Black Sea separatist region of Abkhazia, Russian media reported on Monday, a step Tbilisi said would violate its sovereignty. …

Russia’s Itar-Tass news agency quoted an unnamed official at Russian naval headquarters as saying commanders planned to station vessels at the Abkhaz port of Ochamchire. Russia’s navy could not immediately be reached for comment.

“The fundamental decision on creating a Black Sea Fleet base in Ochamchire has been taken,” Tass quoted the official as saying. “This year we will begin practical work, including dredging, along Abkhazia’s coast.”

Good memory from the (alas, unnamed) CNN correspondent:

This latest development comes despite comments made last year by Abkhazia’s leader that his territory would not be hosting Russian military bases.

“There will be no new bases,” Sergei Bagapsh told Russia’s Novosti news agency, adding that Russia’s Black Sea Fleet will not be based in the republic either.

“Only units of Russia’s ground forces that have always been based here will continue to be stationed in Abkhazia,” he said.

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About Doug Merrill

Freelance journalist based in Tbilisi, following stints in Atlanta, Budapest, Munich, Warsaw and Washington. Worked for a German think tank, discovered it was incompatible with repaying US student loans. Spent two years in financial markets. Bicycled from Vilnius to Tallinn. Climbed highest mountains in two Alpine countries (the easy ones, though). American center-left, with strong yellow dog tendencies. Arrived in the Caucasus two weeks before its latest war.

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