Attack from breakaway Abkhazia damages Georgian power grid

Attack from breakaway Abkhazia damages Georgian power grid

22 Jun, 08:57 PM

Gunfire and grenades from the Russian-backed separatist province of Abkhazia have destroyed an electricity pylon in Georgia, Georgian officials said Monday, the attack came a day after roadside blasts killed an ambulance driver accompanying a European Union patrol in the same area.

An Abkhazian official denied the claim about Monday's attack, a Russian news agency reported.

Tensions are high along the edges of breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia. After routing Georgia in a five-day war last August, Russia defied the West by recognizing the separatist provinces as independent nations and taking formal control of their borders.

Zurab Gvenetadze, a spokesman for Georgia's Interior Ministry, said a police post near the Georgian village of Muzhava came under fire on Monday from Abkhazia. He said there were no casualties.

But Georgian state power company spokesman Shalva Shamatava said the same attack destroyed an electricity pylon, cutting power on a line that carries electricity from Georgia into Russia during the summer. There were no immediate reports of outages in either country.

Zurab Margania, the chief of Abkhazian border guards, said the Georgian accounts were fabricated and that Russian and Abkhazian forces jointly guarding Abkhazia's border were not involved in any such incident, the state-run Russian news agency RIA-Novosti reported.

On Sunday, land mine blasts on a road near Muzhava killed the driver of an ambulance accompanying a vehicle carrying EU cease-fire monitors and wounded a Georgian doctor, according to Georgian and EU mission officials. The armored EU vehicle was slightly damaged but the observers were unhurt.

Unarmed EU military observers are patrolling territory adjacent to Abkhazia and South Ossetia under a cease-fire agreement. Russia has not allowed the monitors to enter the provinces.

Tags: Georgia, Russia, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, military,