RealNews

Georgia on alert after rebel region bars leader

Georgia put its army on alert yesterday after border guards in its semi-tropical Muslim province of Adzharia on the Black Sea fired shots in the air to deny entrance to the newly elected Georgian leader, who led a successful revolt last year. The crisis over the fate of Adzharia, which has long enjoyed de facto independence in Georgia, is likely to rapidly draw in Russia and the US, which have long fought a covert “cold war” over the future of Georgia and the two other former Soviet republics in the south Caucasus. Aslan Abashidze, the ruler of Adzharia for more than a decade, is allied to Russia and was yesterday trying to get a plane back to Batumi, the port city which is the capital of the province, but he said the Georgian leader had threatened to shoot it down. He has enjoyed absolute power in the enclave since the early 1990s, financing himself with customs duties on goods crossing border with nearby Turkey. Full Story

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