Russia fulfilled its obligation to close its military base in Abkhazia (a self-proclaimed republic in Georgia) on November 3. The last train with military hardware has left for Russia. The troops of the former Russian Defence Ministry's 50th base were stationed in Gudauty, Abkhazia. According to Major-General Nikolai Sidorychev, the Commander of the Collective Peacekeeping Force, the Russians faced certain difficulties when withdrawing personnel and hardware from the base. In particular, the local population formed "human shields" on the railway to hamper the withdrawal of the Russian unit. "It took us and the Abkhaz authorities much effort to persuade the local population that Russia should fulfil its international obligations and agreements to close the base," the Commander stressed. Only the Collective Peacekeeping Force is now deployed in Abkhazia. This Force is performing its duties in line with the mandate issued by the Council of the CIS leaders.
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