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Georgia: UN Blames Abkhaz Separatists, Georgia For Deaths

Tbilisi, 10 October 2001 (RFE/RL) -- The United Nations holds both Georgia and Abkhaz separatists responsible for the recent crash of a UN helicopter Abkhazia in which nine people, including four UN observers, died. The UN mission in Georgia made the statement today, saying charges would not be announced until an investigation into the 8 October incident was complete.

Earlier today, Russian troops were sent to the border with Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia following recent clashes in the Khodori gorge region.

Abkhaz reservists were mobilized yesterday in response to what Abkhaz officials said were raids by Georgian militia and Chechen fighters. Officials say 14 people were killed on the night of 8 October. Abkhaz officials say the raids were backed by air strikes yesterday from Georgian aircraft.

Georgia denies any involvement in the fighting, saying the aircraft came from Russia. Georgian security services say it intercepted radio communications in which the Russian military is heard directing the air strikes.

Russia denies any involvement in the air attacks.