by Nathan Hodge
Despite the recent thaw in NATO-Russian relations, the Kremlin's latest move to project military force is raising some alarms.
Russia and the breakaway state of Abkhazia announced yesterday they had concluded a deal that would allow Russia establish an air and naval bases in the republic. Abkhazia -- a once-lovely seaside resort that was trashed during a civil war in the early 1990s -- won recognition from Russia as an independent state after the war in South Ossetia this summer. (Besides Russia, only Nicaragua has recognized Abkhazia's independence.)
The Financial Times summarizes the anxiety over Moscow's latest move. "Nato members are concerned at the decision because they see it is an important step in allowing Russia to project its military strength beyond its borders," the paper dryly notes. "They also believe the move deepens the violation of Georgian sovereignty after Russia invaded Georgia last August and declared Abkhazia and South Ossetia independent territories."