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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Accusations Fly for Blast In Abkhazia




TBILISI, Georgia -- Russia, Georgia and the separatist province of Abkhazia traded recriminations Friday, a day after a mine blast injured nine Russian peacekeepers.


Russia blamed militia groups that support Georgia's central government for the explosion Wednesday night outside the village of Khumeni, where Russian peacekeepers are stationed.


The Russian Defense Ministry said Georgia had failed to control the militia groups, and threatened to fire back in case of new attacks, Itar-Tass reported Friday.


"The command of the peacekeepers has been ordered to take adequate measures to eliminate terrorist groups," Itar-Tass quoted the ministry's statement as saying.


Georgia, meanwhile, accused Russian peacekeepers of failing to do their job and prevent alleged kidnappings of ethnic Georgians by Abkhaz separatists.


Georgian officials said five ethnic Georgians were kidnapped Wednesday in the village of Orsantiya, a region controlled by Russian peacekeepers. One of the hostages was fatally shot Thursday, and the remaining four released for a ransom of $200 each, the officials said.


Georgia's Foreign Ministry released a statement Friday, blaming Russian peacekeepers for "inactivity" and "failure to take effective measures" to prevent such attacks.


Abkhazia denied any involvement in the kidnappings, and said they took place in Georgian territory.