Page last updated at 09:58 GMT, Wednesday, 2 September 2009 10:58 UK

Abkhazia threatens Georgian ships

Russian naval ship off coast of Abkhazia
The Russian navy keeps a close watch on Abkhazia's coast

The leader of Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia has threatened to destroy any Georgian ships engaged in "pirate actions" off its coast.

"I have ordered our naval forces to destroy Georgian ships infringing the sea border of Abkhazia," Sergei Bagapsh told Interfax news agency.

Georgia has been trying to enforce a sea blockade of Abkhazia.

Last month a Turkish ship was seized while trying to deliver fuel to Abkhazia and its captain jailed.

Russia has vowed to protect Abkhazia and the other breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia. It recognised them both as independent countries following last year's war with Georgia.

But Mr Bagapsh said it would be Abkhaz, not Russian, naval forces that would take any action against Georgia warships.

It is not clear, however, what naval assets Abkhazia owns.

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