Abkhazia Intends To Appeal To Russia For Military Aid To Repulse Georgian Aggression

Abkhazian presidential spokesman Igor Akhba has not ruled out the possibility that the leadership of the self-proclaimed republic will appeal to Russia for military assistance if Georgian forces enter Abkhazian territory. While appearing at a Moscow press conference on Friday, Mr. Akhba said that Abkhazia would turn to Moscow "only if the need arises." According to him, the introduction of Georgian regular units or subdivisions would be seen by Abkhazia as an act of aggression "and then the question will arise about granting Abkhazia military aid, as this will already be a war." When talking about the possible withdrawal of CIS peace-keeping forces from the area, the spokesman said that "if this happens, then clashes will be inevitable." In answer to journalists' questions about Abkhazia's capability of combating Chechen and Georgian bandit formations independently, Akhba said that the republic's armed forces had "enough resources, po! ! ssibilities and spirit." According to Mr. Akhba, Abkhazia is expecting, above all, political support from Russia at present. In particular, he reminded those present that Abkhazian leader Vladislav Ardzinba had yesterday sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Sukhumi, Mr. Akhba stated, wished to see Moscow exert political pressure on Tbilisi in an effort to make the Georgians comply with earlier reached agreements. Moreover, according to the spokesman, Abkhazia is also in need of international support. In this connection, Sukhumi has requested that Moscow put forward a proposal at the UN for the Security Council to consider the current situation. When answering a question about the possibility that Abkhazia might introduce its own currency, Akhba said that so far, "we are entirely satisfied with the Russian ruble." According to him, Abkhazia has long been on good terms with Russia and considers itself to be well integrated into its economic space.

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