Savunma ve Stratejik Analizler

13 Ağustos 2010 Cuma

Russia builds up sea border patrols around Abkhazia

The fifth Russian Mangust class patrol boat has arrived in Abkhazia to help the former Georgian republic guard its maritime border in the Black Sea, a source in the local administration said on Thursday.

Under mutual assistance treaties signed last November following Russia's recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states, Moscow pledged to help both republics protect their borders, and the signatories granted each other the right to set up military bases in their respective territories.

A Russian coast guard division, based at the Black Sea port of Ochamchira in Abkhazia, is expected to have up to 10 Mangust and Sobol class vessels in the future to patrol 215 kilometers (about 133 miles) of the Abkhazian maritime border.

The 19-meter Project 12150 Mangust patrol boat, with a maximum speed of 53 Kts, is equipped with a 14.7-mm machine gun. The 28-meter Project 12200 Sobol patrol boat is equipped with a machine gun and a gun mount, and has a maximum speed of 50 Kts.

The head of the Russian Federal Security Service's coast guard department, Col. Gen. Viktor Trufanov, has said the patrol boats will seize Georgian ships if they illegally enter Abkhaz waters.

Georgia considers Abkhazia and its waters part of Georgian territory, and has declared any unauthorized maritime shipments of goods to be illegal. It has already seized a number of cargo vessels heading to Abkhazia.

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