ABKHAZIA BEGINS SPRING MILITARY MANEUVERS

By (04/18/2005 issue of the CACI Analyst)

Over 3,000 men -- regular troops and reservists -- are participating in war games near Sukhum that began on 18 April and will last for four days. Abkhazia holds such maneuvers every year in the spring, but this year\'s are reportedly the most extensive ever, and include ground, naval, and air forces. Representatives of the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) and of the Russian peacekeeping forces deployed under the CIS aegis in the Abkhaz conflict zone will observe the exercises, UN special envoy Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini told journalists on 18 April. The Abkhaz defense minister, Lieutenant General Sultan Sosnaliev, denied on 15 April that Russian instructors are training Abkhaz air force pilots. Sosnaliev\'s predecessor, Vyacheslav Eshba, is a trained fighter pilot. (Caucasus Press)