UN officials say a Georgian-controlled pocket in the separatist region of Abkhazia has come under aerial bombardment, a move which potentially widens the conflict. However eyewitnesses could not specify whose planes carried out the strike. Observers also say large numbers of troops and heavy artillery have been seen heading towards the Kodori Gorge.
Strategically important, Kodori is the only portion of Abkhazia Tbilisi controls, with the rest in the hands of Russian-backed separatists.
Moscow, meanwhile, has denied that naval patrols off Georgia’s Black Sea coast are aimed at establishing a blockade.
Moscow already has around two and a half thousand troops on the Abkhaz-Georgian border, serving under a UN Security Council mandate.
The US ambassador to the UN said Abkhazia was engaged in a “Russian-backed military offensive” against Georgia in the Kodori region, and urged the Security Council to take urgent action.