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Russian Peacekeeper Denied Entry To Georgia

(RFE/RL) 19 December 2005 -- The deputy commander of Russia's peacekeeping forces was denied entry into Georgia en route to the breakaway republic of Abkhazia.

A peacekeeping spokesman in the Abkhaz-Georgian conflict zone said Lieutenant General Valerii Yevnevich was planning to travel to the Abkhaz capital Sukhumi through western Georgia on 17 December when he was turned back at a checkpoint.

The spokesman said Yevnevich was then forced to travel via Russia and was due to reach Sukhumi yesterday. Yevnevich was reportedly carrying a visa and the reason for his denied entry was not clear.

Russia provides official peacekeeping in the Abkhaz-Georgian region according to an agreement ending the 1992-93 Abkhaz war for independence.

Georgia accuses Russia of supporting the breakaway Black Sea region.