MOSCOW, April 19 (RIA Novosti) – Russian troops stationed at a military base in Abkhazia will receive up to 40 upgraded armored personnel carriers (APCs) featuring improved ballistic protection and air conditioning, the press service of the Southern Military District said on Friday.
Deliveries under the state defense order are expected to start in June.
“The new BTR-82A vehicles are equipped with better ballistic and anti-mine protection and air-conditioning units,” the press service said in a statement.
In addition, the Trona-1 positioning system is installed on the vehicles to enhance the accuracy of navigation and fire-control data, according to the statement.
Russia maintains a 3,500-strong force in Abkhazia with its headquarters in Gudauta, a former Soviet military base on the Black Sea coast north of the capital, Sukhumi, under a September 2009 agreement on military cooperation.
The Gudauta base hosts Russia’s 131st separate motorized rifle brigade, equipped with at least 41 T-90 main battle tanks and 130 outdated BTR-80 APCs.
Russia recognized the breakaway Georgian republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states following a five-day war with Georgia over South Ossetia in August 2008.
Moscow has vowed to protect both regions from outside military intervention and signed a host of military cooperation agreements with Abkhazia and South Ossetia since then.