The threat of a large-scale military campaign in Abkhazia, the self-proclaimed republic on Georgia's territory, remains, said Igor Akhba, the representative of the President of Abkhazia, at a Moscow press conference in the media centre of the Izvestiya newspaper on Thursday. According to Mr. Akhba, the threat is even more pronounced now that Georgia has requested that peacekeeping forces withdraw from Abkhazia. The Abkhazis believe that the peacekeepers presence is the main stabilizing factor in the republic. Despite the fact that the "president of Abkhazia is currently in full control of the situation in the republic," in Mr. Akhba's words, the Abkhazian leadership is taking additional measures to increase its military capabilities. Speaking on the recent counterterrorist operation in the Kodori Gorge, he said that during the operation 80 Georgian and Chechen rebels were killed. According to the representative, the armed groups aimed, in particular, at reaching the area of Adler and Sochi - two large resorts on the Black Sea coast, - to carry out terrorist actions and destabilise the situation. He also claimed that their goal was to "get rid of compromising elements" on Georgia's territory, internationalize the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict, and force Russia out of the region.
Russian President Vladimir Putin got the West worried again by signing Decree No. 915. The news did not produce any public effect in Russia