Moscow Warns of Violence if Tbilisi Stops Abkhazia-Bound Ships in Black Sea

MOSCOW (AP)–A Russian official has warned Georgia that attempts to block ships from reaching a Moscow-aligned separatist region of Georgia could end in military intervention.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko did not make any specific threats in televised comments Thursday but said that “attempts to install a sea blockade” on Abkhazia “could lead to a serious armed incident.”

Separatist authorities say Georgia has halted 23 ships in Black Sea waters near Abkhazia this year. Georgia claims they entered the region illegally.

A Georgian court sentenced a Turkish cargo ship captain to 24 years in prison Monday for smuggling and border violations.

Abkhazia and South Ossetia claimed independence after last year’s Russia-Georgia war.

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