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Saturday, May 31, 2008 - Page updated at 06:25 AM

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Russian railroad personnel in Abkhazia

SUKHUMI, Georgia —

Russia's defense ministry says it has sent unarmed personnel into a breakaway region of neighboring Georgia to restore the railroad.

Russia's support for the independence aspirations of the Abkhazia region is a source of growing tension between Georgia and Russia.

Abkhaz officials say 300 Russian railway troops arrived in the region Friday and Saturday.

Georgia's Deputy Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze said Saturday that Russia was "preparing a beachhead for an intervention." He called it "an aggressive step by Russia against Georgia."

Russia already has 2,500 peacekeeping troops in Abkhazia. The Black Sea region has been under separatist control since the early 1990s.

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