By Gary Anderson

January 22 - Russia has extended the Olympic security zone around Sochi which is now said to stretch into Abkhazia ©Getty Images The Georgian Government has reacted angrily after Russia temporarily expanded its Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic security zone into the nearby region of Abkhazia.

The Georgian Government is "deeply concerned" over what it calls the "illegal expansion", according to the BBC.

Abkhazia, situated about 25 miles (40 kilometres) from Sochi, is the subject of a territorial dispute after it declared independence from Georgia in 1999, and Russia is one of only a few countries to recognise it as a sovereign state.

Abkhazia receives financial support from the Russian Government and is under its military protection.

Diplomatic relations between Russia and Georgia broke down completely following the conflict over the breakaway region of South Ossetia in 2008.

However, tentative attempts to restore some kind of relationship have occurred since a change in Government in Georgia in 2012, while calls for Georgian athletes to boycott the Sochi Games were ended after the country's National Olympic Committee voted unanimously in favour of participation in May last year.

The extended Olympic security zone is said to reach seven miles (11 kilometres) into Abkhazia and the region's security forces are set to patrol the new border, while it is claimed local residents will have to carry identification cards at all times.

The Georgian Foreign Ministry says the border zone will last until the end of the Winter Paralympics on March 21.

The biggest security operation in Olympic history was instigated by two suicide bombings in Volgograd in December ©AFP/Getty ImagesThe biggest security operation in Olympic history was instigated by two suicide bombings in Volgograd in December ©AFP/Getty Images





































The move by Russia is part of the biggest Olympics security operation ever launched ahead of a Games, after a spate of terrorist attacks in recent weeks from insurgents based in the North Caucasus region who are seeking to establish an Islamic state.

Last month, a double suicide bombing in Volgograd killed 34 people, while six bodies and a booby-trapped car were found in the Stavropol region of the country earlier this month.

Russian authorities last week defused a homemade bomb in the southern city of Nalchik and arrested five members of a banned militant group.

In a separate incident, three members of the Russian Special Forces unit were killed along with four gunmen during a shoot-out in the city of Khasavyurt in Dagestan.

Earlier this week, Islamic militants released a video claiming responsibility for the Volgograd bombings and have threatened to carry out more attacks during Sochi 2014.

Contact the writer of this story at gary.an[email protected]


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