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Russia boosts troops on tense border

  • Story Highlights
  • Russia says it's increasing troop presence near breakaway region in Georgia
  • Russia says it is response to increased numbers of Georgian troops near Abkhazia
  • Abkhazia wants independence; Russia has been giving Abkhazia support
  • Tensions between pro-West Georgian government and Moscow are rising
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MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- Russia is increasing the number of its troops near the region of Abkhazia amid simmering tensions between Russia and Georgia, the Defense Ministry announced Tuesday.

Georgians protest outside the Russian Embassy in Tbilisi on April 25, 2008.

A statement posted on the ministry's Web site said the increase of what it called peacekeepers was in response to a Georgian troop buildup.

"Georgia is increasing its group of forces in close vicinity to the conflict zones," and there have been "threats to use military force and provocations on behalf of Georgian authorities," the statement said, according to a CNN translation.

"Such developments of the situation prompted the need to increase the peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Armed Forces," the statement said.

A cease-fire agreement negotiated more than a decade ago ended fighting between Abkhazian separatists and Georgian forces but Abkhazia has continued to seek its independence.

Tensions have escalated recently between Georgia's pro-Western government and Russia, which is providing assistance to Abkhazia and another breakaway region, South Ossetia.

Earlier this month Georgia accused Russia of "military aggression," saying a Russian jet shot down one of its unmanned spy planes over Abkhazia.

Russia then said Georgia had violated the cease-fire agreement in using the drone to track developments in the separatist area.

During the diplomatic conflict over the downed plane, representatives from the United States, Great Britain, Germany and France made statements at a United Nations meeting reaffirming their commitment to "the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Georgia." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Maxim Tkachenko contributed to this report

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