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'New front' fears as troops move south

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'New front' fears as troops move south

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Fears of a new front opening in the Georgian breakaway territory of Abkhazia continue to grow as separatist troops advance south along the Kodori gorge towards Georgian army units.

Abkhazian reservists are said to be preparing for an assault.

The separatist foreign minister Sergei Shamba claims Abkhazian artillery and warplanes have already struck Georgian forces in the gorge.

The narrow valley, which cuts deep into Abkhazian territory, is an ideal route for any invasion in the region.

Abkhazia, which declared independence from Georgia in 1999, fears Georgia will invade after launching an incursion to regain South Ossetia.

Georgian troops are massing on the border with Abkhazia. One Abkhazian official said the size of the Georgian force there has recently quadrupled.