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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1268 2008-07-25 04:36 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tbilisi

DE RUEHSI #1268/01 2070436
P 250436Z JUL 08

E.O. 12958: N/A 
1. (SBU) Summary:  The Ambassador attended a July 22 meeting 
at the MFA for NATO Ambassadors.  A paper prepared by the 
Ministry of Internal Affairs was distributed, summarizing 
Russian military activities in Abkhazia this spring.  The 
paper is not classified, but the MFA asked that it be treated 
as sensitive because of some of the sources of information. 
End summary. 
Begin Text 
2. (SBU) Putin's Decree: 
-- On March 6, 2008, Russia withdrew from the 1996 CIS 
agreement prohibiting governments inter alia from military 
relations with Abkhazia. 
-- On April 16, 2008, Russian President Vladimer Putin issued 
a decree urging the federal government to establish direct 
relations with the de facto authorities of Abkhazia and South 
3. (SBU) Increased Number of Peacekeepers: 
-- Before April 29, 2008, the number of Russian peacekeepers 
deployed in Abkhazia amounted to roughly 2000 soldiers. 
-- The Russian government claims that by May 4, 2008 the 
number of their troops in Abkhazia increased up to 2500, but 
according to our information their real numbers exceeds 
official data. 
-- On April 29, 2008, the Russian peacekeeping contingent 
deployed in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict zone increased 
-- An echelon of 30-32 wagons crossed the Georgian-Russian 
Border near the river Psou by railway carrying 26 units of 
camouflaged armor vehicles, among them: BMD vehicles, D-30 
type howitzers etc. 
-- The echelon had 4 additional passenger cars, carrying 
soldiers from Novorosiisk military base. 
-- The military vehicles were unloaded in Ochamchire.  One 
part of the soldiers and armament was sent to Tkvarcheli 
district and another part to Gali district. 
4. (SBU) Deployment of Airborne Troops: 
-- The PKF units recently deployed in Abkhazia also include a 
joint battalion (545 soldiers) of the Novorossiysk and Pskov 
Airborne Division, thus violating the 1994 agreement. 
-- They are stationed in village Okhurei of Tkvarcheli 
district and Reka of Ochamchire district and are patrolling 
at checkpoints no. 402 and no. 403 (near villages Arasadzisi 
and Akamara).  This fact was further confirmed by Russian 
official newspaper "Krasnaya Zvezda" on July 9, 2008. 
5. (SBU) Deployment of MOD GRU Unit 
-- Approximately 250 Chechen members of Vostok and Zapad 
battalions of the Main Intelligence Unit of the Russian 
Defense Ministry have been deployed in Abkhazia. 
-- Currently they are patrolling in Gali district (Gudava and 
Primorsk villages) and at checkpoints no. 208 (Meore Otobaia 
village) and no. 109 (Sida village) 
6. (SBU) Russian Deployment in Abkhazia 
-- In April-June, according to our information Russia has 
additionally deployed in Abkhazia approximately: BUK air 
defense system, 50 aviation specialists, 30 military experts, 
100 communication and antiaircraft defense experts, 40 D-30 
type howitzers, 10 BM-21 "Grad" systems, 20 Shilka 
ZU-23-2/ZU-23-4 AA guns, 120 anti-tank missles and 2 MI-24 
7. (SBU) Building New Check-Points: 
-- On May 1, 2008, new illegal checkpoints were opened on 
almost every strategically important road in Ochamchire and 
Tkvarcheli districts, among them at Nakarghali, Arasatsisi 
and Akamara. 
-- In violation of the 1994 agreement, the Russian side does 
not allow Georgian and international observers to monitor 
their locations, including the Bombora military base in 
-- Russia is currently operating checkpoints at the following 
sites: Nakargali, Otobaia, Nabakevi, Pichori, Chuburkhinji, 
Dikhazurga, Saberio, Lekukhona, Muzhava, Rechkhi, and Akamara. 
8. (SBU) Shooting Down Georgian UAV 
-- On April 20, 2008, at 10:00 AM a Russian fighter plane 
entering from the Russian Federation attacked and shot down a 
Georgian Unmanned Flying Vehicle "Hermes-450" above Gagida 
village in Gali district. 
-- This fact was further confirmed by the UN special 
9. (SBU) Railway Troops 
-- On May 31, 2008, the Russian Ministry of Defense deployed 
TBILISI 00001268  002 OF 003 
400 soldiers of Volgograd's 76th Unit of Railway Forces in 
-- These forces are preparing railway platforms for 
transportation of military equipment and construction 
materials from Sokhumi to Ochamchire, even though there is no 
economic activity in Ochamchire today. 
-- Russian authorities accuse Georgia of preparation to war, 
while they themselves prepare infrastructure for military 
10. (SBU) Russian Non-Peacekeeping Troops 
-- Currently Russian non-peacekeeping forces are stationed in 
the following places: Ochamchire, Babushera, Bombora, 
Akamara, Sokhumi, Tsebelda, Okhurei, Gagra and Lata. 
11. (SBU) Bombora Military Base 
-- At present, Russian military units and equipment are 
stationed along with Abkhaz separatist forces at several 
military bases. 
-- Bombora (Gudauta): By mid-July 2008 several hundred more 
solidiers and 44 military vehicles were observed at the 
Bombora military base, which should have been closed 
according to the Istanbul agreement of 1999. 
-- With Russian assistance, three large barracks are being 
rebuilt at the Bombora military base, waiting for deployment 
of fresh forces. 
-- On June 6, 2008, several "SU-25" and "SU-27" type fighter 
planes (armed) were detected at the Bombora military base in 
12. (SBU) Ochamchire Military Base 
-- Ochamchire (Seaport): On April 17, 2008, several "Ural" 
trucks carrying 300 Russian contract soldiers entered the 
military base in Ochamchire seaport. 
-- On the same day, one "ZIL-131" military vehicle with 2 
units of antiaircraft system ZU-23 and 15 containers with 
shells, as well as four GAZ-66 vehicles with special 
communication equipment was deployed there. 
-- On May 3, 2008, 5 units of 120mm artillery systems and 
several antiaircraft defense systems BUK-M1 were located at 
the military base in Ochamchire seaport. 
13. (SBU) Okhurei Military Base 
-- Okhurei: Approximately two months ago, with the help of 
Russian specialists, the construction of Okhurei military 
base in Tkvarcheli district was finished. 
-- On July 8, 2008, additional Russian soldiers, 4 BTR-70 and 
4 BRDM type military vehicles and several anti-aircraft 
systems were deployed at the base. 
14. (SBU) Sokhumi Military Base 
-- At present, the Russians are rebuilding the military base 
in Sokhumi's Maiak (lighthouse) settlement. 
-- On April 30, about 40 train cars entered a railway station 
in Sokhumi loaded with various types of armament, part of the 
cargo was taken to Maiak military base, and another part to 
Tsebelda mountain battalion. 
15. (SBU) Antiaircraft Defense 
-- On May 3, 2008, antiaircraft defense systme BUK-M1 were 
deployed in Abkhazia 
16. (SBU) Abkhazia Defense Minister's Comment 
-- In his July 7, 2008 interview with Russian information 
agency "Utro", de-facto Minister of Defense Merab Kishmaria 
declared that, "Russian instructors prepare Abkhazian 
soldiers.  I pay them according to contract...We are just 
doing this without publicity". 
17. (SBU) Russian Officials in Abkhazia 
-- On April 30, 2008, former head of Russia's peacekeeper's 
staff, Aleksandr Pavliushko was appointed de-facto Deputy 
Minister of Defense by a decree from Abkhazian de-facto 
-- Since March 2005, Head of General Staff of Abkhazian 
de-facto Ministry of Defense is Anatoly Zaitsev, a 
high-ranking official of the Russian Ministry of Defense. 
18. (SBU) Detainment of Illegal Weapons 
-- On June 17, 2008, Georgian police detained a military 
cargo, mainly consisting of 20 anti-tank guided missiles, 
which the Russian peacekeepers were covertly transporting to 
Zugdidi base without any official documents specifying the 
origin or destination of the cargo. 
19. (SBU) Military Trainings in North Caucasus 
-- On July 15, 2008, large-scale military trainings 
unprecedented for the last 20 years "Caucasus-2008" started 
in the North Caucasus Military District (NCMD). 
TBILISI 00001268  003 OF 003 
-- Airborne units from Pskov and Novorosiisk are conducting 
operations near the Roki and Mamisoni mountain passes, right 
at the Russian-Georgian border. 
-- 8000 soldiers and 700 armored vehicles from NCMD 
participate in these trainings: airborne units, air force 
units, antiaircraft units, Black Sea and Caspian Sea Fleet, 
Federal Security Service and Internal Troops of the Ministry 
of Internal Affairs. 
20. (SBU) Eliminating Armed Grouping 
-- On September 20, 2007, special task units of the MIA of 
Georgia neutralized an armed grouping of 10 people in Kodori 
Gorge, which has planned an attack on the new road connecting 
Upper Abkhazia with the rest of Georgia. 
-- The commander of the grouping and his deputy were killed 
in an exchange of fire. 
-- They were identified as: Igor Muzavatkin - Vice-Colonel of 
Russian armed forces, former member of the Collective 
Peacekeeping Forces, who served on a contract basis in the 
border troops division of the Abkhazian separatist security 
service; and Artur Zorin - Major of Russian armed forces, 
also former member of the Collective Peacekeeping Forces. 
21. (SBU) Possible Target - Kodori Gorge 
-- Increase in the number of Russian soldiers, military 
equipment, military trainings and intelligence activity near 
the Kodori Gorge indicates the interest of Russian forces. 
-- The proof for this was an attack on Georgian police 
officers near Achamkhara Mountain who were patrolling the 
gorge on July 9, 2008. 
End Text 


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