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Abkhazia Holds Major Military Drill

Abkhazia leader Sergei Bagapsh (file photo) 15 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Georgian's separatist province of Abkhazia launched major military exercises today in a show of force criticized by Tbilisi.

The maneuvers involve 6,000 service personnel and reservists and include motorized and artillery forces and aviation and naval units. They will conclude on 19 August in the presence of Abkhaz leader Sergei Bagapsh.

Georgian Conflict Resolution Minister Giorgi Khaindrava complained that the military exercises were taking place close to a demilitarized zone. He accused Russia of encouraging the separatists to flex their muscles.

Abkhazia has run its own affairs since 1993, when the separatists drove out Georgian government troops.