Monday, 5 May 2008

Abkhazia places army on high alert after shootins

SUKHUM, May 4 (Itar-Tass) - Following a sharp deterioration of tensions along the disengagement line that separates the Georgian and Abkhazian forces, the unrecognized republic of Abkhazia has put its armed units on high alert, Kristian Bzhania, a special representative of the Abkhazian President told Itar-Tass.

Special focus is given to ensuring security of Abkhazia's air space.

President Sergei Bagapsh, who is the chief commander of the republic's Armed Forces, is in his office, Bzhania said, adding that the president has issued an order to bring down any aerial targets violating Abkhazian air space.

A total of two Georgian reconnaissance drones were shot down Sunday over Abkhazia's Gali district between 16:00 hours and 17:00 hours Moscow Daylight Saving Time /12:00 hours GMT and 13:00 hours GMT/. The first drone was destroyed over the village of Lizakhurga and the second one, over the village of Bagryam.

President Bagapsh invited Major General Sergei Chaban, the commander of the CIS Peacekeeping Force in the zone of Georgian-Abkhazian conflict, to his office and informed him about the situation.

Sunday's catch of drones bring the total number of pilotless reconnaissance aircraft destroyed in the skies over Abkhazia to four. The first of them was shot down March 18 and the second, April 20.

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