Georgian president denounces Russian plan for navy base in breakaway region

Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili

© APA | Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili

# 06 February 2024 15:43 (UTC +04:00)

Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili on Tuesday denounced a reported Russian plan to set up a navy base in the breakaway Abkhazia region as a threat to security in the Black Sea, APA reports citing Barron's.

Last October, as Ukraine stepped up attacks on Moscow's Black Sea fleet, Abkhazia's separatist leader Aslan Bzhania said he has signed an agreement with Russia to establish a Russian naval base at the Black Sea town of Ochamchire "in the near future."

"Russia's plan to transform the Ochamchire port into its navy base is aimed at shifting the confrontation into the Black Sea, into our territorial waters, and at creating a threat to the strategic perspective of the Black Sea," Zurabishvili said during an address to parliament on Tuesday.

Zurabishvili -- who has repeatedly clashed with the Georgian government and accused it of being too close to Moscow -- also warned Russia had "begun fresh attacks in its hybrid war on Georgia."

Her role is largely ceremonial, though she has been a staunch backer of Ukraine since Russia invaded in February 2022.

Russia already has permanent military bases in Abkhazia and another Moscow-backed separatist region, South Ossetia -- both of which it recognised as independent states in the wake of its war with the Caucasus country in 2008.

Ochamchire is a seaside town located near Georgia's key maritime location of Anaklia on the Black Sea. It has been a base for Russian patrol vessels operating in the Black Sea since 2009.

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