Government in breakaway Abkhazia extended its ‘border zone’ with Russia, where heightened security measures are enforced, 11 kilometers deeper into the breakaway region’s Gagra district ahead of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, which is less than 40 kilometers away from the Abkhaz section of the Georgian-Russian border.
Abkhaz news agency, Apsnipress, reported that individuals entering into the extended ‘border zone’ in a period between January 20 and March 21, are required to carry identification cards. In a decree last August, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin ordered heightened security measures in and around Sochi, which will stay in force until March 21.
According to the Abkhaz government’s decree, “a stationary checkpoint” will be established at the village of Bagripshi on the edge of the 11km zone, which will be manned by officers from the Abkhaz security service, interior ministry and migration service.
At this checkpoint the officers will be authorized to check identification cards of persons entering into the extended ‘border zone’ or heading towards the Russian border, as well as to inspect vehicles. Abkhaz law enforcement officers will be carrying out round-the-clock patrols in the villages falling within the zone, according to the decree. Town of Gagra itself is outside of the zone.
Also as part of heightened security measures ahead of the Sochi Olympics, restrictions have been imposed on movement of cargo vehicles across the border between Russia and the breakaway region. Owners of the trucks, moving in and out of Abkhazia, should apply for a special “accreditation” to be eligible to cross the border ahead and during the Olympics. According to these measures 45 trucks can cross the border per day. Authorities should be notified about intention to cross the border at least one day earlier. These measures are also in force until March 21.