August 9, 2008 / 7:02 PM / 9 years ago

Abkhaz troops moved closer to Georgian forces

MOSCOW, August 8 (Reuters) - Troops from Georgia’s separatist region of Abkhazia have advanced their positions about 50 km (30 miles) to the south towards where Georgian forces are massed, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported.

Abkhazia, hugging the Black Sea coast, has expressed fear that Georgia could invade after it launched an incursion to regain another separatist province, South Ossetia. Abkhazia said on Saturday Georgia was building up forces on its borders.

"On the order of the (Abkhaz) president, it was decided to move the republic’s armed forces onto the border of the security zone in the Gali area," the agency quoted Kristian Bzhaniya, a representative of Abkhazia’s self-styled president, as saying.

The town of Gali is about 12 km (8 miles) from Abkhazia’s border with Georgia proper.

Another Abkhaz official said earlier on Saturday the size of the Georgian force on the border had quadrupled since the action was launched in South Ossetia. (Reporting by Simon Shuster, editing by Ron Popeski and Mary Gabriel)

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